Archive for the ‘Blog’ Category

Top 20 Tips to Get More Twitter Traffic

Top 20 Tips to Get More Twitter Traffic

Twitter can be fun. Twitter can be a time sink. But if you want to harness the traffic from this mega-site for your online business, Twitter must be a strategic part of your marketing arsenal. There are many little tips and tricks you can employ if growing traffic on Twitter is your goal.  No one tip will likely change your Twitterverse – but put a bundle of these together, and you may be surprised at the difference.

  1. Add your signature branding hashtag to your business card.  Many people find themselves unable to remember entire URLs – but single hashtags are another matter altogether.
  2. Use the “#FF” hashtag to give a shout-out to your favorite Twitter connections.  This famous hashtag started in 2009, and went viral almost from the word “go”.

Originally “#FollowFriday”, it became so well-known, it was shortened to “#FF”.

Here’s how it works:

  • Every Friday, be sure to have a short list of worthwhile tweeters prepared.  Make sure they are relevant to your own followers.
  • Begin your tweet with the hashtag “#FF”, then add the Twitter handle of the person or persons you want to promote

When you #FF someone, you are telling people that this person is a great person to follow.  Many people just #FF an entire list of Twitter handles, one time only, remembering each tweet can only be 140 characters long.

Twitter FF hashtag

Others prefer to personalize each “#FF” recommendation with a small blurb about why their recommended Twitter user is worth following.  They may release individual #FF tweets all Friday long.  Here’s a powerful example of a single tweet:

Comedy Central India FF

In the multiple tweet example preceding this one, the poster has done something a little different and recommended only verified tweeters – “verified” meaning Twitter has personally checked out the account holder and verified that they are for real.  (You usually see verification more with celebrities, to .)

In the single tweet, the poster does a masterly job of telling the Twitterverse what #FilmFare is and why people who love Bollywood movies should followthis hashtag – in five succinct words.

A little originality in tweets can cause a flurry of click throughs.  People are used to long lists of names to follow: They are not used to something like the #FF tweet below!

Sponge Bob FF

  1. Track your #FF tweets with TopFollowFriday. This free site by Humanxtensions allows you to see who is recommending who using the #FollowFriday hash tag – and if you’ve used it, you’ll see your individual results.  (Tip:  Use the full “#FollowFriday” hashtag: not “#FF”.)
  2. Throw a Twitter Party.  This has become an accepted part of Twitter culture, and is welcomed with enthusiasm.  If you have created an event, create a unique hashtag for it and tell your participants to start using it.

 

Be sure to prepare in advance:

 

  • A strong, relevant hashtag
  • A date and time
  • Invitations

 

Be sure to follow through, however:  Nothing makes you look more irresponsible than forgetting to keep the flow of promotion going for your Twitter Party – or, worse, forgetting to tell them it’s cancelled or the date and time has been changed.

 

  1. Register your Twitter Party Hashtag at Hashtags.org. This will boost its effectiveness.

Register your hashtag

  1. Make your tweet visual, if your business is visual.  Photographers, illustrators, web designers, picture book creators – this means you!

Of course, you can’t do this all the time – but do look for opportunities to do so.

  1. Know your specific goal for engaging on Twitter.  Then stick to it with your tweet topics and focus.  If you’re there for the branding, focus all your tweets (and your own Follows) towards that end.

And while you’re at it, actively grow your Twitter community.  Once you’re well-branded, you want to keep the ball rolling and your tweets going viral.

  1. Use Twitter’s geo-targeting abilities. When composing a tweet, you can instantly add your location, if it is relevant to your tweet topic, followers or business.

add location in Twitter

If you want to tract tweets about a specific geographical location, check out Monitter.com.

  1. Use tweriod to find your Twitter community’s preferred tweeting and retweeting times.  (All you need to do is sign up with Twitter, and tweriod will analyze your tweets and those of your followers, and present you with the results.)

Tweriod

  1. If you can’t find the right topics or hashtags, use Twitter Search, a dedicated interface that also happens to show the latest trending hashtags.  But it’s biggest advantage?  It allows you to filter your searches with advanced settings advanced settings.
  2. Put your most important words or facts first.  People’s attention spans have grown so fleeting in this decade that they will even look away after the first five or six words, if you haven’t grabbed them with your tweet.
  3. Thank people who tweet about you or retweet your tweets – especially for Follow Friday (it’s part of the culture).
    People like to be acknowledged and noticed, and thanking them by Twitter handle for a retweet or recommendation is the perfect way to do it.
  4. Make a habit of joining as many relevant Tweet Chats as you can.  If you pick one your business really fits, you can make great new contacts through the sense of instant closed community.
  5. Tweet current events that are in the process of happening – but do your best to keep these relevant to your followers and your niche.
    Occasionally something is so shocking or momentous one has to comment – and that’s allowed.  But don’t tweet the latest celebrity scandal unless it has some point of connection or relevance to your niche community.  (E.G. Tweeting to your strictly-vegan followers:  “Vegan Brad Pitt caught chowing down on 10 lb. Texas Steak”)

advanced serach

  1. Be culturally aware, when using jargon or colloquial speech.  You may not be saying what you think you’re saying, if your followers are from other cultures or countries.
  2. Remove weak words from your tweet for maximum impact.  Words that weaken the power of a statement are “filler” words and phrases (E. G.  “So to speak”; “in my humble opinion”; “basically”.Creating focused, powerful tweets increases your chances of getting them retweeted.(Tip:  Adjectives and adverbs usually weaken – not enhance.)
  3. Pre-schedule tweets wisely – Remember that you won’t be there to respond.  It’s always best to wait around for at least ten to twenty minutes for interaction before logging out.
    If you do have to pre-schedule, do it with social media managers such as HootSuite or  TweetDeck; or with other social networks with a pre-scheduling function, such as StumbleUpon, if you want to share web links at a time other than the present.
  4. Focus on your followers.  Tweet material you think they will find interesting – and that’s a good policy whether or not your tweets are personal or niche-oriented. Including the odd personal tweet is good, because it makes you interesting and human… as long as it’s something your audience can relate to or feel connection over.
  5. Ask people to follow you on Twitter – Install targeted Twitter buttons in blog posts, guest posts, other social media sites and profiles; and on your website.

install Twitter buttons

10 Reasons Why You Need Social Media in Your Marketing Mix in 2013

10 Reasons Why You Need Social Media in Your Marketing Mix in 2013

Those who predicted that the leading social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn would fade away or gradually start to lose members in 2012 couldn’t have been more wrong. Those social media websites continued to grow, becoming an even stronger foundation of our online lives. Furthermore, new social media sites like Pinterest were able to become incredibly popular just over the course of the past year.

Social media is here to stay. This means that in order for your business to be successful, you’re going to need to make those sites part of your marketing efforts. Here are the top ten reasons why social media absolutely must be part of your marketing strategy in 2013.

1.         Time Spent on Social Media is Increasing

Perhaps you’ve noticed it happening to your teenage children, or even to yourself. People are spending more time on social media sites. In fact, according to a 2012 Report by comScore (http://www.comscore.com/Insights/Presentations_and_Whitepapers/2012/The_State_of_Social_Media), social media usage now accounts for 18% of all time spent online. If you want your business to be successful then you can’t neglect marketing through social media – your potential customers spend too much time there.

time-spent-on-social-media

2.         Connect with Potential Customers

New customer acquisition is often the biggest hurdle for many new businesses. Not only can it be expensive to reach potential customers, it can be difficult to know exactly where might be the best place to reach them. With so many people logging in to Facebook and the other social media sites every week, those sites can be the best first place to start your marketing efforts.

connect with your customers on social sites

3.         Build Relationships with Current Customers

As you seek to connect with new customers, don’t forget one of the best sources of business – your existing customer base. Through social media websites you can easily connect with people you’ve already done business, and forge relationships that can help you improve your existing products and services, as well as come up with ideas for new lines of business.

hand shake

 

4.         Social Media Influences Search Engine Rankings

While the process and methods aren’t entirely opaque, it’s generally agreed that the scope of your social media presence has an influence over your businesses. In addition to improving rankings to your website, people also share various links and content through social media sites – and this sharing can further boost your standing with the search engines. This influence can be seen directly if you happen to use Google as your primary search engine (as most of us do), and have enabled personal search results.

Wikipedia also has information about social search at (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_search)

social search

 

5.         Conduct Customer Service Operations

One of the best ways to address any service issues with your customers is to first consider how you and your friends deal with any problems you have when you are the customers.

Chances are you don’t always call the company you bought something from in order to lodge a complaint. In fact, there’s a good likelihood that rather than contact the vendor, you take to Twitter or Facebook and let your friends and contacts know about your negative experience. If you proactively monitor these social media sites for mentions of your company then you can immediately address any negative customer experiences, and demonstrate to others that you’re responsive to your customers’ needs and feedback.

You should also consider setting up Google Alerts (log in at www.google.com/alerts) to monitor individual blogs and bulletin boards for the same reason.

google alerts screen

 

6.         “Social Media is the New Search”

You might hear some market observers refer to social media as being the “new search.” This means that for a larger number of individuals, when they need to look for an answer to a problem or need they have, are more likely to look to their online social networks for possible solutions rather than use a search engine such as Google or Bing.

social media is the new search

 

7.         Highly Targeted Marketing Opportunities

Because people share so much about themselves on social media sites, you already know a lot about your potential customer base. Just a decade ago, if you wanted to target potential customers you might be forced to purchase or rent a mailing list, and you’d never really knew how good that list was. These days you can target demographic groups with pinpoint accuracy through social networking websites.

highly targetted bullseye


8.         Social Media Can Be Cost Effective

You can set up your own social media profiles for your business for free on all the major websites. This gives you a no-cost method to start implementing some of your social media marketing efforts almost immediately. In addition, if you choose to utilize the targeted advertising and promotional opportunities that are offered by Facebook and LinkedIn, you may find that the cost to reach targeted prospects is surprisingly competitive to other online advertising options you may have used in the past.

marketing cost effectively

 

9.         Commerce Will Be Conducted Through Social Media

In the long term, social media sites need to become profitable in order to survive. Trying to charge their members a fee to use will almost certainly be a non-starter, so it’s anticipated that their revenue will come from taking a commission of any real-money transactions or ecommerce that’s conducted on the site. While many of these ecommerce channels are not yet up and running, you can be sure that they’re likely to become a big part of doing business online. By becoming established on social media sites and learning the best ways to reach new customers, you’ll be in a strong position to take advantage of these ecommerce channels when they become active.

ecommerce on social

 

10.       Social Media is Replacing Traditional Media

As the time we spend on social media websites increases, the time we spend reading newspapers, listening to the radio and watching television decreases. This means that you might want to reconsider any marketing efforts you may have been planning for traditional local media.

As you participate in social media sites, always strive to be professional, helpful and honest. Putting forth the best possible image will do wonders for your business.

traditional marketing and social marketing

Social Media 2013 Trends and Predictions

Social Media 2013 Trends and Predictions

Given the strong and clear breakaway social media trends this past year, it’s not hard to guess where social media is heading towards in 2013. Some changes are already in the work, taking much of the guesswork out of predicting which direction we’re all going to be herded.

  1. Analytics for Pinterest Business Pages

At first dead-set against monetization, Pinterest now seems firmly headed in that direction.  Not only has it added Pinterest business accounts/pages, but it also lets you turn Pinterest into your own personal brand or product recommendation service (complete with price tags)…

Pinterest pin price

…Or into your own Pinterest store through third-party apps or services such as Shopinterest (from the Pintic creators).

Shopinterest website

But if Pinterest is going to seriously woo marketers and retailers, it will have to come up with native analytics such as Facebook provides through its own Insights.

And we predict these Pinterest native analytics will debut (at least in Beta mode) by the end of 2013’s first quarter.

But until then, there’s always Reachli.

  1. Facebook vs. Pheed – in Stereo

Facebook has only recently introduced real-time music sharing via the “Listen with” feature.  This enables Facebook users to share music from their apps, so both parties can hear the same music simultaneously.

Meanwhile, brand new social network Pheed – which has been described as a “mashup” between Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and YouTube – already allows sound clips and sound sharing (including voice notes), although it was only publicly released within the last three months.

Pheed is promising to be another Pinterest-style dark horse if you look at its growth trends so far, so Facebook likely has more sound-related apps or functions in the works for 2013 in order to compete.

Analytics site, Quantcast, shows Pheed with only a mere eighteen thousand monthly visits:  However, look more closely at the demographics and you’ll see that sharp rise occurred only in the first month it was opened for public consumption.  (Before that, it existed only in private Beta form.)

Quantcast Pheed

Will Pheed replace Twitter?  Let’s look at its attractions:

  • 420 characters allowed for micro-posts, compared to Twitter’s 140
  • One-click addition of graphics, video or sound clips and live streaming Pheeds for webinars, etc.
  • Able to post separate posts to Facebook or Twitter in widget to the left of Pheed Textarea box
  • Easy to set up subscriptions and create paid Pheeds
  • Able to one-click share any Pheed with Google+, Facebook and Twitter
  • Unlike button

The key is going to be its audience.  Right now, after a startup fueled by rap bands and young celebrities like Miley Cyrus and Paris Hilton, the average age according to Quantcast ranges from 18-34 years old.

Quantcast age of Pheed users

 (Remember, however, that’s for the first month out in public.)

Alexa.com shows Pheed as over-represented in the 25-34 year old range; and both sites agree that the overwhelming majority of users have “no kids”.

Alexa stats for Pheed

 Alexa figures for the last three months show a slight dip in popularity after that strong first month.  Even though Pheed is easy and fun to use, older users may be put off by too much profanity and tasteless images and profile photos bordering on the lewd.  “It’s trashy,” said one 56-year-old, not mincing words. “Trashy and vapid.  Pheed is supposed to have a ratings system, but even if you set yours at G, you still risk seeing those types of Pheeds.”

Will it be competition for Facebook?

Only if the younger demographic has anything to say about it.  Facebook and LinkedIn are still well ahead of the pack.

  1. The Continuing Rise of Mobile Connection

It doesn’t take a quantum physicist to hypothesize that people will share more than ever over mobile devices, thanks to apps, social networks to suit every taste and an ever-increasing array of mobile devices.

We went as small as we could go with mobile devices:  In 2013, it’s going to be all about tablet-style devices allowing people to take full advantage of graphic content.

When it comes to mobiles and social networking, people like not only the immediacy and interactivity, but instant connection with anyone, anywhere.

Woman texting

Only one trend even hints at contradicting this:  And that’s the preference of mobile reader owners for non-interactive content.  (They really do want to use mobile readers as reading devices.)

It’s not hard to predict, however, that this group will remain a minority of all mobile users.

  1. Increase in Cyber Surveillance through Social Networks

There are disturbing indications that cyber-tracking and surveillance of individuals will increase throughout 2013.

Much of this can be blamed on Facebook’s constant stretching of individual privacy limitations.  It seems to go like this:  People find out Facebook is violating some privacy principle, people complain, the news media reports, Facebook tweaks.  Everything dies down for a while.  Then Facebook quietly makes another change that seems to violate a privacy principle, people complain, the news media reports, Facebook tweaks.

The problem occurs when this becomes a predictable cycle – many people seem to become both cynical and immune.  “If you don’t want Facebook knowing about something, don’t post it,” said one teenager, with a chirpy common sense many adults would do well to emulate.

But now Facebook has acquired Instagram and Face.com, and is talking about automatically merging Facebook and Instagram data, as well as the ability for Facebook to “recognize” all photos of you ever posted, it will be interesting to see how much privacy concerns are going to affect social networking this year.

It may well be, however, that social networking will actually increase. A new generation thinks it is totally normal for the most mundane or personal happenings in their life to be hung out in public.

Besides which, NSA whistleblower, Walter Binney, has just made headlines by asserting that nearly every email in the U.S. is recorded by the FBI.

 NSA whistle blower Walter Binney

So that means email is no longer safer than social networking.

One social networking prediction to be sure of, however:  No matter how much social networks or government agencies flout privacy laws and principles, large numbers are not going to stop using social media.

  1. QR Codes Will Not Take Over the World

2012 also saw a rise in QR code use, as retailers and especially restaurateurs caught on quickly to these mobile-scannable graphic bar codes and all their delicious possibilities.

QR codes offer the ability to send people to:

  • Websites
  • SMS text messages
  • Telephone numbers

This makes them ideal for campaign gimmicks such as contests and coupons.

QR codes reached their heyday in Japan before North America was ever aware of them.  But now they are here, many people consider them merely annoying.  The novelty of wowing friends by knowing what to do with them quickly wore off.

RIP for QR code

But what about QR codes and social networking?

Mainstream use will continue to keep QR code usage a part of daily mobile life.  But it won’t be until 2014 that we’ll see heavy QR code use via social media – and only after companies and businesses have really got a handle on the best way to integrate these powerful little interactive gimmicks with social media.

  1. The Social Networking Fight between Facebook and Google Will Escalate

In fact, these two giants will leave all other networks in the dust.

But Apple is belatedly realizing that it should be paying more attention to social networking.  It has updated its voice-recognition system, Siri (a sort of glorified, Bluetooth-behaving “personal assistant”) to launch apps, post on Facebook and Tweet.

Which app does Siri work with?

Siri is not yet mainstream news and there is virtually no street-level buzz.

But given the capital Apple has at hand, it soon will command both.

  1. More and More Large Companies Will Go Social

With mobile use taking over the planet (literally) large companies will have to seriously rethink the way they advertise and pay more attention to social networking.

Oh, most of the major ones already have pages on Facebook, but many still seem to cling to that old “we’ll set and forget” attitude, relying on awesome graphics and flash websites to interest readers.

Sorry, but it takes more than that, Big Boys.  Social media users want:

  • Location-based information (the nearest store, etc.)
  • Interaction
  • A personal touch
  • To tell their stories
  • “Insider” deals
  • Status-endowing offers
  • The best deal

Unknown to users, however, social media analytics will reach new, sophisticated heights as companies mine all the main, relevant social networks, developing new systems for data analysis and use.  The data will become (finally) more important than the platform.

And they’ll finally clue on to the fact that response is key to engagement.

Oreck Facebook page

Pretty soon, they’ll know what you had for breakfast.  (Probably because you’ll tell them!)

But oh – gonna miss those Coca-Cola Polar Bear flash graphics and screensavers…

Coca-Cola polar bears

 

 

Social Media Review 2012

Social Media Review 2012

Social media networks continued to grow, expand and sometimes even explode during this past year.  New apps were added, new functions created, new networks launched in a frenzy of competitive emulation.

But was it all really necessary?  Aren’t people overloaded with social networking itself – let alone coping with change after change, new launches and other new shiny social baubles?

So what has changed globally about social networking?  What made 2012 a landmark year?

Here is a social media review of 2012:

Global Shifts and Changes

First let’s take a look at the most notable shifts and changes.

Facebook…

  • Went public, opening at $38 per share
  • Launched Timeline world-wide
  • Bumped Orkut from the #1 spot in Brazil
  • Still claims the top spot in global social networking, with 845 million monthly users at last count

Google

  • Frightened Facebook more than the latter expected with a Google+ popularity gain
  • Saw more people using Google+ Group video chats
  • Shut down PicNik photo-editing

Twitter

  • Ferociously tightened up its terms and policies
  • Parted ways with LinkedIn and (temporarily) Pheed
  • Lost thousands of referrals over the LinkedIn separation

Pinterest

  • The “best new start-up in 2011” continued to grow, with a 75% female user base
  • Added Pinterest business pages

Instagram…

  • Caught on quickly with the rise in infographic and photo popularity
  • Was acquired by Facebook for one billion dollars

Visual media such as Pinterest and Instagram experienced a volcanic rise in 2012, causing (or perhaps responding to) a major shift in social networking habits and the collective consciousness only partially explained by the corresponding rise in mobile device use.

In fact, Pinterest “referred more new business than LinkedIn, YouTube and Google+,” according to British firm, The SEO Company.

Meanwhile, the rocketing popularity of photo-sharing resulted in Facebook’s Edgerank algorithm (which weights photos more highly than any other type of media) becoming public knowledge.

Popularity also brought along problems:  Email viruses purporting to come from Facebook rose noticeably[1].  And while other social networks grabbed a satisfactory share of the market and improved their platforms dramatically, Facebook was still the star of the show, as The SEO company clearly demonstrated, based on Mashable findings.

 Google+ and Facebook comparison

Let’s take a closer look at Facebook’s most notable developments during 2012…

  1. Facebook:  Messenger for Windows

This was the year people found out that Facebook had officially released Messenger for Windows 7, allowing Windows 7 users to access Messenger without a browser (and thus pushing back competition from Google Gchat). 

Messenger for Windows

Using it is like chatting on Facebook, except you can do it from either your System tray or your home screen.  (It was actually released late in 2011, but the world didn’t start adopting it en masse until 2012.)

  1. Facebook:  Disappearing Cover Photos

Part of the new Timeline organization of personal news-feeds involved a new header area, consisting of tabs, a Cover Photo (background photo) and a Profile photo (head-shot or logo).  Facebook was firm in its guidelines – no promotional items or text in the Cover photo.  But it wasn’t long before people started ignoring that.

Recently people started reporting blank spaces in Facebook Eggshell Blue where their cover photos used to be.  No explanation has yet been given, but a common thread is emerging in the type of photos removed:

  • Any photo featuring a recognizable celebrity (even if that’s you standing grinning as said celebrity personally puts his or her arm around you)
  • Any promotional content – logos, recognizable brand names, prices, calls to action, etc.)
  • Text
  • Popular background images from download sites
  • Any copyright content – For example, movie shots, album covers or original artworks from well-known artists (or artists with a strong web presence).

So no more featuring your head-shot against a backdrop of Hobbits trudging through the snow; or against your favorite band performing onstage; or cozied up to Royalty.

 Forbidden Facebook Timeline cover photo

 In fact, if you attempt to upload any “copyright” photo (i.e. belonging to someone else), Facebook becomes eerily smart and will most likely slap you with a notice like this one when you try to re-upload it, according to at least one person who blogged about the phenomenon:

Facebook cover photo warning

  1. Facebook:  Face.com

Facebook acquired the rights to the facial recognition software it had been using, according to an announcement on Face.com’s blog in June 2012.

You are already familiar with Face.com through Facebook’s photo-tagging process.  Face.com already reputedly supplies certain other Facebook apps, including Photo finder (what you use when you locate tagged photos of yourself and un-tag them. So the acquisition seems a logical step.

But what are the implications?

Well, potentially, you could find Facebook “recognizing” every photo you’ve ever appeared in – whether these belong to your account, other peoples’ accounts or institutional accounts/Facebook pages.

Not everybody is comfortable with that option, as can be seen from just two of multiple negative responses to Face.com’s June 18, 2012, blog post:

 FB facial response 1

 FB facial response 2

  1. Facebook: “Gifts”

Yes, Facebook did get rid of “Gifts” a couple of years ago, but like Heather O’Rourke says in the movie “Poltergeist”, “they’re ba-ack…”.

Well, at least for some people.  If you have gifts enabled, you’ll see the present-box icon beside friends’ birthdays or with their posts, if you check their walls.

Facebook gifts

Face it, the ability to collect money directly from your credit cards for gift was most likely  just too tempting for Facebook to let die, so Facebook has resurrected gift-giving along with a whole new raft of willing partners, including:

  • Baby Gap
  • Dean & Deluca
  • iTunes
  • L’Occitane,
  • Lindt
  • Pandora
  • ProFlowers
  • Random House

(And that, of course, doesn’t include all those “Facebook credits” for games.)

Gifts functionality doesn’t yet seem to be enabled for everyone.  If you aren’t yet able to give gifts, the gift icon won’t appear; and if you go to the gifts page, you’ll see this announcement:

Facebook gifts page announcement

If you can see the gifts icon, this Facebook  help page further explains the process.

  1. Google+:  YouTube Developments and Integration

Facebook isn’t the only social network determined to push ahead.  Google has been doing its best to go one step further than its gigantic rival – particularly with visual sharing.

One sore spot among Google+ users concerned with branding and SEO was the way people creating new accounts on YouTube could apply their Google+ user names to their channels.   Existing YouTube users could not.  So now there’s a fix for that.  Those using YouTube for business purposes will appreciate the branding opportunity of syncing Google+ and YouTube accounts; plus the increase in Google searchability.

And to enhance your YouTube videos further, Google allows you to create rich snippets to show up as an enhanced listing in your Google search results[2].)

Google rich snippets

  1. Facebook:  Instagram Acquisition

Facebook purchased mobile photo-sharing network Instagram – reportedly for one billion dollars.

Instagram home page

Hard on the heels of this purchase, Facebook began to make unmistakable noises about eliminating user voting on its “governance policies”.

There has been alarm over the idea of Facebook building user profiles using data shared between its own network and Instagram’s.

Facebook has gone on record as saying that storing Instagram “server logs and administrative records” on its own systems is “standard for the industry”.  Prior to this, Mark Zuckerberg himself went on record as saying Facebook was “committed to building and growing Instagram independently”.

Instagram’s acquisition was reportedly in the works prior to Facebook shares going public.

  1. Pinterest: Business Pages

And now the development we’ve all been waiting for – Pinterest business pages.  Not only can you now join Pinterest as a business, you can create a Pinterest business page.

If you already have a Pinterest account, you will have to convert it from personal to business.  Pinterest then walks you through the page creation process.

You can:

  • Verify your website
  • Embed buttons and widgets
  • Select a custom URL for your page

Example Pinterest business page

To sum up 2012, it’s been all about three things, with social media:

  • Mobile integration and sharing
  • Photo and video sharing
  • Making money

And it seems as if the social media world has finally woken up to these facts.  That being said, only one thing seems consistent about social media networks in 2012.

They are constantly changing and growing along with their users.

 



[1] Don’t open any email saying it’s from Facebook if it has an extra “o” in its Address (e.g. “faceboook.com”)

[2] Further tips on managing rich snippets: http://www.bestrank.com/blog/the-trick-to-getting-your-rich-snippet-author-photos-to-show-in-google-results

How to Read Sendible Reports and Tips for Using this Data to Improve Your Social Media Presence

How to Read Sendible Reports and Tips for Using this Data to Improve Your Social Media Presence

One of the most powerful assets Sendible offers to your business is its Reports feature.  You can access this instantly via your Dashboard by clicking on the “My Reports” tab.

This feature works powerfully both in helping you monitor and in allowing you to accurately track your social media presence.

 

Sendible reports tab

You can check:

  • Your message volume
  • Your scorecard (interactions, audience, influence, clicks)
  • The best time to post, as proven on your particular networks
  • Number of clicks on posts over the month
  • A record of all messages and posts (including date and interactions
  • Mentions – your keywords; and whether or not these mentions were positive or negative.

report dashboard

Step 1. Building Your First Report

Before you can read any data, however, you need to build your first report.  Click on the “My Reports” tab, if you aren’t already there, and select the “Report Builder” tab in the left-hand vertical sidebar menu.

Select your layout from the templates indicated.

select report layout

You’ll be taken to the next screen, where you’ll notice two fields waiting for your input:

  • Report Name
  • Report Title

enter report details

Only you will be able to see the contents of the “Report Name” field, so go ahead and populate it with whatever you want.

Everyone who accesses the report will be able to see your “Report Title”, so put some thought into a strong title, preferably with a relevant keyword in it.

You can also select the exact period of time you’d like the report to cover (seven to ninety days).

The moment you click “Next”, you’ll be given a selection of modules you can add.  Choose the most relevant ones by clicking on the green “Add” buttons.

When you are done, click on the “Close” button.

add modules

The next page shows you your report skeleton and presents you with a button you can press to upload your logo (260 X 100 pixels), as well as allowing you to edit your personal data in the far right side of the report header.

upload your logoUnderneath, you’ll find the data….

report data like Facebook demographics

(This area can be as packed with fields and data or focused on one aspect as you’d like it to be.  You can also remove fields at this stage, by selecting the little wheel in the right-hand side of each field header slug.)

scorecard

You can then choose between four actions:

  • Print your report
  • Email it
  • Publish it to a live link
  • Export it in MS Excel or HTML

Step 2. Reading Your Data

Sendible’s “My Reports” functions becomes invaluable in analyzing data and monitoring your social network, email and site interactions.  In addition to all the fields you can add when populating your reports, you can also go to the “Quick Reports” tab in the left-hand menu and select even more functions.

quick reports monitoring

You don’t have to “interpret” in any one of these sections:  Simply read the results, which are all sorted, tabulated and in many cases compared for you.

When you’re ready to collect new data and create a new report, go back to the “Report Builder” tab in your “My Reports” left-hand, vertical menu.

Sendible report builder

You will see the last report you created – but on the extreme right-hand side in the Header section of your report, you’ll also notice the bright green “New Report” button.

new report button

Press it, and you’ll be able to “Add Modules” again.

Last time you created a report, we focused only on the vertical Modules within “General Reports”.

general reports tab

This time, check out the horizontal tabs in your “Add Modules” section.

add modules section

  1. “Channels” lets you set up and track activity across all your social media accounts:  Your Facebook Page, Twitter accounts, Facebook accounts and more.
  1. “Social Media Monitoring” lets you monitor all your “mentions” – positive, negative, over time, by source and more.

One tip, however – make sure the keywords you select is highly specific to your business.  If you use a general keyword such as “business solutions”, you will get a flood of “junk” results.

Do be sure to scroll down in the “Social Media Monitoring” section.  You won’t want to miss the chance to add a “Sentiment” pie chart – one of your quickest barometers of buzz-worthiness – and setting up a “Sentiment Comparison” between your social networking accounts.

This demographic alone is unique in that it fairly accurately measures intangibles such as liking, long thought to be non-empirical and non-measurable.

social media monitoring

“Sentiment Comparison” is a good category to add if you have multiple social media accounts.  And, finally, “Top Influencers” can show you who has been busy either competing or promoting your keyword the most (if you chosen keywords highly focused to your business USP).

  1. “Links” won’t be hugely valuable if your business is fairly new:  However, if you’ve built up solid backlinks, it’s worth your while throwing into your mix for this second test report.

links section

(Always select any modules with pie charts.  They impress clients, are great for giving you an accurate visual feel for data portions – and you can always take them out before printing or sharing your report, if the data doesn’t feel particularly impressive or relevant.)

  1. “Campaigns” is another tab that doesn’t look too impressive when you first click on it.  (In fact, it looks rather lonely.)   But press the “Setup” button for its one solitary field, “All Messages”, and it opens up a treasure trove of tracking options.

campaigns tab

In addition to the post data options displayed at first glance, you can also analyze and track:

  • Number of emails opened during the report’s specified time period
  • Number of people reached by your emails
  • Retweets during that period
  • Your top posts that have been shared over that period
  • The number of people who unsubscribed from receiving your messages
  • How many people viewed your blog(s)
  1. Google Analytics is your final horizontal-tab field to add.  You can instantly set up full analytics measurements – and you’ll never have to log into Google again to see your stats.

Google analytics tab

In addition to the fields you see here, you can also add (if you scroll down):

  • Visitor Countries
  • Visitor Cities
  • Pages Viewed
  • Search Keywords

Don’t neglect location-based targeting and measurement in your campaigns.  Even if you do one hundred percent of your business online, you may uncover a hidden gemstone of a local market who will buy from you simply because you’re someone they either know (at least by sight, if you’re putting in quality time investing in your community) or just someone from their home town.

Step 3. Editing Your Report

You can also “Edit” your report within the “Add Modules” section, which allows you the ability to change either the layout or the details within the report, making for a tighter, more focused report.

update report details

Get into the habit of editing your details.  Not only will it look and read better, it will give you a stronger, clearer picture of where your business online visibility and interaction level is really “at”, and what sort of actions you will need to take in which areas, to improve your statistics.

Step 4. Sendible Best Practices – Four Secret Stops to Make

Finally, remember to check out the horizontal tabs under “Add Service” in “Add/Edit Services”.  The more relevant streams you add, the more complete your tracking and monitoring results and reports will be.

“If you use it, add it” is a good rule to start out with.

And if you decide a stream is just not worth including, or you suspect it skews your results, you can always remove it later.

Two more tips for you:

  • Get in the habit of keeping up with Sendible Insights – and don’t let the name mislead you.  It is in no way a copy of Facebook Insights: Instead, it’s more of a blog that provides both basic and heavy-duty social marketing tips and news.

Sendible Insights

(Just select any post title of particular interest.)

  • Visit Sendible Resources before you start hunting for answers elsewhere.  This comparatively hidden area of their website contains not only the most clear and well-organized tutorial sections, but it also presents you with actual case studies you can follow, if you’re more of a “hands on” must-see-it-for-myself sort.

Sendible resources

  • Follow Sendible on social networks – especially on Pinterest.  Not only is Pinterest one of the fastest-growing social networks, you’ll pick up handy infographics and tips

Sendible on pinterest

  • Visit the Getsatisfaction “secret” forum.  Well, actually, it’s not so secret:  In spite of the fact it is now no longer active and archived (as well as “unofficial”, with a big site disclaimer denying any Sendible affiliation), Sendible’s support team actually includes it as a resource under their signature in automated replies.

While much of it is out of date (or about to become so, with Sendible’s recent upgrades and changes), it is still a place where you can find the odd diamond when hunting for glitch solutions (and waiting for Sendible support).

Jumping in the Pool

There is much  more to Sendible than we’ve touched on, but it’s something you can’t learn overnight.  You need to try it, tweak it, find what works best for your unique business – but these tips should help you start out with a firm foundation.

Oh.  And don’t forget to measure and track how much time Sendible saves you!

 

Setting Up Sendible Groups, Contacts and Other Useful Features

Setting Up Sendible Groups, Contacts and Other Useful Features

Sendible allows you to automate a multitude of tasks and functions for your business.  Some of these features are definitely ones you need to grasp right at the beginning as they’ll make your life a lot easier.

One of these functions is group set up and handling.  Instead of sending or assigning messages individually, you can designate a Sendible group to take care of an issue or task. And you don’t necessarily have to group people: You can create a group of email addresses or social media platforms.

You can also send SMS Text Messages – even from your mobile.

You can separate employees and contractors into groups of email addresses, if yours is a larger company.  For example, if you are a magazine publisher who makes use of social media or blogging, you can create a separate group for Production staff, one for Editorial staff and one for Distribution staff.

sample Sendible groups

So are you ready to set up your first Sendible group?

Step 1. Setting Up a Sendible Group

Nothing could be more simple than creating a new group.  While at your Message Box, just click on the “My Groups” tab.

my groups screen

A popup will immediately open, asking you to “Create a Group”.  Before you do, make sure you plan your groups first, rather than thinking them up on the spur of the moment.  (If you’re someone who thinks better in images rather than in words, use mind-mapping software such as Bubbl.us or MindMeister.)

When you are ready, enter your group name and click on the button.

create a new group

Once created, the group will immediately open up a Dashboard in your Message Box.  You’ll instantly see a variety of buttons, allowing you to perform functions such as:

  • Sharing
  • Renaming your group
  • Deleting your group
  • Creating a new group
  • Searching
  • Refreshing your group box
  • Adding Contacts/Services
  • New Contacts
  • Removing selected group members
  • Exporting data

group box

Once your group is created, you’ll find it in your Message Box services category.

One of the nicest features about groups is that each one you create will automatically generate and present you with its own email address, allowing you to post group messages to anyone, including external mail servers.

You can also post to as many types of groupings as you like – all in one post action.  You can post to groups of just about anything – a group of all the blogs you own, so that you update them all at once.  You can have all your email contacts in a group; all your Facebook Pages in a group.  Then access them all at once from your Message Box.

So setting up a group is easy… but then what?

Step 2. Troubleshooting Groups

The sad fact is that once your groups are set up, managing them is sometimes not as straightforward as Sendible would have you believe.  Parts of their User Manual seem to be out of date, and here and there the odd glitch seems to happen.

Unfortunately, these glitches seem to happen right in the most important areas.

Here are the answers to the most commonly-expressed handful of frustrations.

Q:  “Why aren’t my groups appearing in my Message inbox?”

A:  The only thing Sendible’s user manual has to say on the subject is that you should “favorite” the group by clicking on “the little yellow star” on your group listing’s right-hand side to make it appear.

Not only does the little yellow star sometimes not show up, but sometimes you can’t even see your group in your Groups box.  This latter is usually a classic case of newbie blindness, where people start looking for the complicated answer when it’s right in front of their noses.  If this happens to you, look for simple fixes, such as clicking the down arrow in your Groups field where it says “My Groups” within the Textarea box.  Your groups will drop down and you can select the one you want.)

groups drop down

When it comes to your groups not appearing in your Message inbox, here’s a more reliable solution:

    1. Click on your “Add Services” tab in your Message Box
    2. Click on the “Streams” tab
    3. Find the group you want in your “Streams” listings, and click the corresponding “Add” button over on the far, right-hand side

streams tab

Q:  “Why can’t I find and add my Facebook groups?” 

A:  If you can’t find your groups in “Add/Edit Services”,  direct add them through Facebook from this link.

You will be walked through the process of locating and easily adding your groups.

add groups from Facebook

Q: “Why doesn’t the link preview appear when I post to LinkedIn groups via Sendible?

A: The problem is with LinkedIn’s API.  There is nothing that can be done from Sendible’s end (though LinkedIn is in the process of making changes).

In spite of the occasional issue, Sendible Groups can provide a powerful tool to those concerned about maintaining a strong presence on social networks.

Step 3. Sending SMS Text Messages to Your Group

Not only can you email groups via Sendible, you can send text messages too.

When you are setting up a new Group, it’s easy to add individual Contacts, one by one; then ensure your main method of contact will be SMS text messaging.

contact

Once you’ve entered the basic profile information, select the “Contact Information” slug.

contact information

When the “Contact Information” slug opens up for you to populate it, simply mark “SMS” as your contact preference for that individual.

SMS option

(The Sendible blog also features detailed instructions on how to opt-in SMS keywords.)

Step 4. Creating Branded Posts

One of the most exciting factors about Sendible is its ability to help you brand your business.  In fact, you can easily create branded posts from right within your Dashboard and link them to your Facebook Pages.

Here’s how:

  1. Go to your “Add/Edit Services” tab and select it
  2. Select the “Add Ons” tab and choose the option you want – either add Facebook Pages or buy the ability to put your own branding in place of “via Sendible”.

branding

If you’ve added a Facebook Page and branded it, be sure to “Save Settings”.  You will see a notification that your Facebook  Page has been successfully added.  Click “Ok”.

Step 5. Preserving a Blog Format When Copying and Pasting

Those who use blogging as a way to increase web identity and presence will particularly appreciate this tip from the Sendible Community Help forum.

To make sure Sendible preserves your blog format after you copy and paste blog content into your Message Box:

  1. Select “My Profile”.
  2. Scroll down to the “Preferences” slug
  3. Open it up and set your “Messaging Preference” to “Blogging”
  4. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click “Save”.

preserve blogging format

Step 6.  Setting Your Clock and URL Shortening Preferences

While you’re still in “My Profile”, open up the “Time Settings” slug and select the clock preference option that works best for you – twelve hour or twenty-four hour.

setting clock preferences

Before you leave “My Profile”, set your “URl Shortening” preferences too.

URL shortening

And, of course, make sure you “Save”.

Step 7.  Getting Help

There are so many features available with Sendible that you will almost certainly need to ask for assistance occasionally.  Fortunately, there are several ways to find the help you need, besides clicking on the “Help” link at the extreme top-right of your page.

help link

  1. Get in the habit of watching for the green tip popups at the top of your Sendible screen.

tips This is where you’ll find notifications about upcoming webinars, new features, changes and just plain old tips!

  1. Use “Live Chat”.  This option is not always available (depending on the time of day in your Time Zone) but when it is, you’ll see a black pop-up in the bottom right corner of your screen.

Click on it to speak immediately to a live operator via the Olark platform.

  1. Use the “Support” vertical tab on the right-hand side of your screen (powered by Zendesk).

Simply type in your question and hit the “Next” button to see the closest and related answers from the Sendible database.

support

  1. Refer to your Sendible User Manual

user manual

  1. Get into the habit of using Sendible forums.  Browse their data or ask questions.

What you don’t find in the User Manual or “Help” section, you’ll most likely find here!

forums

Finally, experiment!  Start using Sendible – if you make a “mistake”, help is never more than a tip away.

It may seem obvious, but the real key to putting the power of Sendible’s features to work for you  lies in getting to know and use your Dashboard.

all tabs in Sendible

Do this and it won’t be long before you have streamlined Sendible into the powerful tool it was meant to be for you and your branded business.

 

Sendible Social Media Management & Team Collaboration

Sendible Social Media Management & Team Collaboration

Sendible’s team management tools and abilities give it extra value to those who outsource, manage, serve or employ others.

Sendible’s Business Package includes up to four extra users. If you would like to add an extra user or two, you can simply pay an additional $17.50 per month.  This means that you can add a client as a user without upgrading to a larger plan.  (You can also manage permissions so that he doesn’t have access to private areas of your account.)

But it isn’t only clients you can include in your Sendible stable:  Create valuable team members from your employees or favorite, regular freelancers – team members who can take care of tasks for you, receiving as much or as little supervision and accountability as you wish.

Sharing is secure and easy, thanks to Sendible’s ability to assign or deny specific permissions for each of your users.  No passwords involved (except the Sendible password you create for them).

The types of permission granted can vary too:  You can assign strictly sharing privileges for specific social network accounts without having to share your password.  You can also grant administrative privileges, depending upon team needs.

One other useful feature that allows you to ensure quality and consistency of all posts and messages is the ability to approve team member content before it is posted.

Step 1. Creating Users and Assigning Permissions

First you need to grant your team member access to your Sendible account.

Logging into your account will automatically put you at your Dashboard. Click on the “My Users” tab, upper right-hand corner.

my users on Sendible

Once you’ve opened the User section, click on the Sharing tab.

sharing tab

 

Select “Create New User”.

new user tab

A popup will open up, asking you to fill in the user contact details and advising you how many user slots are left for you to fill.  Go ahead and fill in the details for this user.

user info screen

If they belong to a different company than yours (e.g. your new user is a freelancer who has their own company name) you can change the “Fullname/Company” field to reflect this.

Note that you can use a drop-down menu in the “Managed by” field to change the person who manages your user.

You can also select what user type category you wish to assign them from a drop-down menu – in this case, “Team Member”.  (Other categories are “Client” and “Administrator”.)

  • Use “Team Member” if you wish to restrict your employee or freelancer to specific areas, tasks and privileges.
  • Use “Administrator” if you wish your user to administer and have access to your entire account.

Step 2.  Editing the Workflow

One last action to take:  Slide your eyes down to “Approval Workflow” and decide whether or not you need to approve your new user’s content before it is published. If you wish to change this setting, select “edit”.

Finally, when you are satisfied the New User popup is filled out correctly, click the “Save” button.

approval screen

Note that you don’t necessarily have to be the one who oversees all team members’ work.  In fact, you can go back any time and edit “Approval Workflow” to assign management of other team members to someone else on your team.

content approved by screen

For example, let’s say you’re the Administrative Editor of a magazine, and you’ve become so busy, you’ve just hired Merlin Smith as your new Managing Editor.  You can then assign all writers you’ve added to your Sendible team to Merlin Smith.

He is now the person in your company who approves everything your writers submit or post.  You don’t even have to worry about who’s doing what.

Here’s how it works:

  • User/writer John Doe reports to Merlin Smith.
  • Managing Editor Merlin Smith reports directly to you.  Now you only deal with one person – not a dozen.  You are free to focus on making executive decisions for the magazine.

You can also set separate permissions for each user.  Click on the “My Users” tab.  Select your team member.

select team member

When the popup for that team member appears, select “Permissions” from the bottom tabs within the popup.

permissions screen

Another popup will open up.  You can check and uncheck the boxes in the upper portion to grant or deny access to available features such as reports, groups and SMS.

remove services procedure

You can also remove services available to that user by highlighting the service in the “Added Services” field, then using the backward arrow tab to send it over to your “Removed Services” field.

backward arrow tab screen

Your user will then no longer be able to access that particular Service.

(Remember to “Save User” when you’re finished editing permissions!)

Step 3. Assigning Messages

You can customize Sendible for your team members even further.  One way is to assign particular messages from your own Inbox to specific team members.

Go to your Message Box and open your Inbox.

inbox shot

Find the message you’d like to assign to a team member.

Without opening the message, mark the checkbox to its left, then click on the “Assign” tab, above it.

assign tab

You can then send a message to your team member, if you wish, letting her know what you’d like done with that particular message.  Once you’ve composed it, press the “Assign” button.

assign message

When you’ve finished assigning messages, you’ll see the company or position of each team member at the extreme right side of each message in your inbox.  This helps you know immediately if someone else is taking care of it for you.

assigned to screen

You can also assign or delete tasks through the “Tasks” folder on the left hand side of your message box.

Either way you do it, your team member will receive a message in their Inbox, letting them know a new task has been assigned to them.  (Be sure to remind them to press the “Mark Done” button when they’ve completed it.)

Step 4.  Who Does What

The beauty of Sendible is that you can instantly allow team members access to certain social networks and clients without having to share confidential passwords with them.  Simply assigning these Services to your team member will allow them access to specific clients, tasks and social networks and services when they log onto Sendible.

You can also assign team members to monitor different messages from your “Monitoring” tab in your Message box.

Just select the checkbox to the left of the message you want your team member to monitor and then click on the “Assign” tab and choose the appropriate team member.

Sendible monitoring screen

Step 5. Let your Team Members Know!

There is sometimes confusion reported among business owners on the subject of notifying team members they’ve been added to Sendible.

Once your team members are able to log onto Sendible the first time, they will be notified of tasks assigned, messages to monitor and more through their Sendible inbox.  When you first add them to Sendible itself, however, you will need to let your team member know this has been done, and provide each one with his or her unique login information.  (Sendible doesn’t send out external emails to let new users know you’ve added them.)

Your team member then can then access Sendible and see what tasks have been assigned to her, send and receive messages, and discover what other privileges she can access.

Let her know:

  • Who she will be answering to
  • Whether or not her content needs approval
  • Which tasks she is going to be responsible for

And anything else you need to tell her.

Two links you might find helpful as you first navigate your way around this incredible social Dashboard:  Sendible’s User Manual and YouTube Channel, where you’ll find twenty-three “how to” videos – including a Quick Start video.

Sendible can feel a little tricky at first, but once you’ve got a few functions under your belt and slip into the Sendible mindset, it should suddenly all click into place.  It sounds like hype to say it, but once you’ve set up your team protocols and assigned responsibilities, it will feel as if your team is virtually managing itself.

The key is good initial communication, so once you’ve got everyone on your team in sync with Sendible, you should notice less confusion, less stress and better communication all round.

 

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