Archive for category Social Media

How to Automate Social Media – the Safe Way

Posted by on Monday, 7 July, 2014

Today I saw these two.

automate-social-media-fail  automate-social-media










Fortunately the second one is a mistaken parody account, but we all know of examples of automated social media gone wrong.

Can you Automate Social Media?

Kind of. I’m a fan of making this efficient but with such a dynamic, high profile marketing tactic, there’s no replacing a competent marketer. Really, look at the fails. Keyword triggered posts seem like a good idea, until a savvy customer discovers the trigger words and starts publicly playing.

Instead of automating social media, we can pre-schedule. This works on a small scale, or for a short period, but when done properly is effective and saves you time and money.

Pre-scheduling Event and Thank You Posts

There are some posts that are safe to pre-schedule. Send a parking details reminder an hour before an event, or thank speakers at the end. You have the event run sheet, so you can schedule these to hit at the right time and no one will be the wiser. It frees you up for real time engagement. This works for general promotion messages too.

I prefer to run these via Hootsuite, but we know I’m a Hootsuite Ambassador and fan girl. The benefit of Hootsuite is being able to see it in calendar view. It helps me when I’m juggling multiple accounts. However, most social media platforms will let you do this in a form. Facebook lets you schedule directly from your page.

Automate Social Media Content

scheduled-automate-social-mediaThis is a trickier one, but technology is now catching up. Chirpsy (disclaimer: occasional client) was one of the first to do this well. Choose keywords, write guidelines and sit back while appropriate posts are found, written and sent on your behalf. Since then Klout entered the arena with a totally automated account based on your previous posts. It’s VERY hit or miss, or should I say miss. Hootsuite has then taken that service and built in the ability to choose your focus words, and machine learning to start customizing your feed. You do need to curate it before it learns and I’ve had one dead link that I know of, but Suggested is the best option on the market, and it’s free. I’ll jump in every few days and see what it has for me. It will schedule them according to my account’s auto-scheduling criteria.

While it’s tempting to fully automate social media, it’s very risky, and not really worth it. Pre-schedule instead and take control.

My Content Curation Process

Posted by on Saturday, 1 March, 2014

Content Curation ProcessDo you ever wonder how content curation occurs for social media? You’re not alone, I’m frequently asked what my process is and what tools I use.

To be honest, it’s a bit messy and manual, and probably not the most efficient.

I should probably describe the type of content curation I do, and for whom. Let’s start with the for whom.

Including my own, I manage three sets of accounts: Bianca/Tap Dancing Spiders, PSAMA and Chirpsy. All have fairly similar audiences, which makes things faster. One great blog post can be cross-posted across multiple accounts. I don’t do it all the time, just when it works. Oh, one caveat of cross-posting, keep audience duplication in mind. If there’s a fair amount of duplication, then you’ll just look spammy. The PSAMA audience is predominantly local to Seattle, and the other two are global. Minimal duplication.

The content curation process

My content comes from three sources. Human-crafted, pre-written Tweets from Chirpsy, manually curated content from RSS feeds in Feedly that are fed to Buffer , and original content I (and the PSAMA team) write on the fly.

This is where it gets messy and I’m still working on the right tools and process to make it work.

Each morning I jump into the Chirpsy dashboard and add three or four Tweets to the queue. It drip feeds them to @BiancaJSmith every two hours. I’ve set keywords in Chirpsy with writing guidelines, so I know the Tweets will be relevant content. I know you’re probably freaking at this level of trust. For the first month with Chirpsy I checked each link and monitored the performance. They aren’t quite the voice I use, but equally as effective. I have another feed into the @Chirpsy account, that’s linked to the facebook page, too. That one’s 100% automated, again it’s trust in the service.

Throughout the day I check on Feedly for anything coming in via RSS feed. If something looks good, I hit the Buffer button, select a few networks and it’s added to the queue. Buffer has pre-set optimal send times for each platform. With a global audience I don’t really care for time optimization, but it helps space things out. These are set to go to my personal feeds, but I pick and choose the networks. I’m definitely fussier with the content going to LinkedIn. If some of these are perfect for the PSAMA I manually share them on those feeds. I never add any to the @Chirpsy feed. That account’s to showcase the product. Messaging impact will be diminished if I supplement it. Oh, I forgot the copy. I rarely change it. The blog post authors have (or at least should have) chosen compelling titles, so I use that for the copy. I’ll sometimes add appropriate Twitter handles or hashtags, but it’s a quick and dirty process.

The final content curation process is manual. If there’s some timely news, I’ll post it to the relevant profile immediately. I also have alerts set for any mentions to action. I keep an eye on Twitter and facebook feeds to share anything there that’s relevant and join in the conversation. Sprout Social is the tool for this.

That’s the main stuff. I have left Pinterest out because I think of it as 100% personal, even though there is a strategy behind it and it’s probably the most pure content curation I do. I share communications pins and business book reviews on my Pinterest page , but I mainly post geeky stuff from Sherlock, Doctor Who and Harry Potter. It’s under my photography business name, so there’s a lot of photography too. Definitely more personality.

As I said at the start, it’s not a perfect content curation process and it’s already evolving. We’ve divided up the responsibilities on the PSAMA team, so we’re coordinating it all in HootSuite because multiple users is less expensive in HootSuite than in SproutSocial.

What’s your content curation process? Is it as haphazard as mine?

Disclaimers: I work with Chirpsy, and hold a volunteer board role with the PSAMA. Both are great organizations that I recommend you check out.

Special Offer: Social Media Profile Reviews

Posted by on Sunday, 29 December, 2013

Social_Media_ProfileWe’ve seen the stats. 91% of recruiters search job candidates online. Professional and personal social media profiles are merging, and engagement is all about personality. But many are showing the “not-so-good” sides of their personalities … and don’t realize the impact.

That’s why I’ve launched a new service, Social Media Profile Reviews.

In a review, we look over your profiles to ensure they’re appropriate for your goals. We’ll discuss grammar and spelling, sharing posts, personal details and photography.



The Offer

This deal was launched with a GroupOn deal recently, but pulled quickly (that’s a story for another day). So i’m offering it here. Book a social media profile review before January 31, 2014 and get 50% off. That’s a $25 saving.

Book a review for yourself or as a gift. It’s an investment.

How to Manage Your Social Media Campaigns Over the Holidays

Posted by on Monday, 9 December, 2013

Social Media Holiday

At last week’s planning meeting with Chirpsy, we discussed what’s the most important information a social media manager needs in December. How to actually take time off over the holidays.

This was the result.

Whether it’s Christmas, Hanukkah, a vacation or your wedding, there are times when you don’t want to be personally managing your social media accounts.

How can you keep an active profile when you want to disengage?

There are a few things you can do.

1. Pre-write and schedule your content. Write general posts and schedule them to be posted while you’re offline. Social media apps like HootSuite and Sprout Social let you do this. Just remember not to post anything that may elicit a conversation or become inappropriate if there’s a disaster. Generic posts work well for this.

2. Use a content curation tool like Chirpsy. If you already use us to supplement your engagement messages, you know how effective it is. But itself, Chirpsy will keep your accounts active and relevant while you’re away.

3. Include customer service messages. Holiday opening hours, reminders, promotion messaging. These are all things you you pre-schedule and link to, while giving your audience useful, timely content.

4. Have someone in the office review the social media feeds. This is a great training opportunity for someone in the office. Ask them to review the feeds to see if anything needs urgent actioning, the same as media monitoring. You don’t need to give permission to post, but they can watching for poor brand mentions and the technology, and escalate any major issues. Remember to define major before you leave to avoid a panicked phone call over something slight.

5. Enjoy the holidays. You’ve worked hard all year ’round. Take this time to do the things you love, without worrying about reach and clicks. You’ll come back refreshed and more creative.

We hope these tips help you this holiday season.

Original post at

Have you checked out Chirpsy yet? I use it for most of my content Tweets. This isn’t just a plug because I’m working with them, I’m working with them because I love their content curation tool. Check ‘em out.

How to Live Tweet Events and Conferences

Posted by on Sunday, 28 July, 2013

Live Tweet EventsA new, but essential part of any event communications plan is Twitter. Not just in the lead-up, but during the event.

But how do you live tweet events?

It takes time and planning. These tips should help.

Before the event

  • Allocate team members

I recommend having at least one dedicated person per session. Two if it’s a panel discussion or important keynote. Panels are tricky because the conversation isn’t linear and it can be hard to work out who said what. Also, keeping attention on the speakers and the concurrent conversation is exhausting. Don’t under-estimate it and allocate the person multiple tasks. Believe me, I’ve tried.

  • Equipment

This is where people have differing opinions. I prefer using a laptop, but there are pros and cons for each option. A laptop allows me to jump between screens and applications easily. Its keyboard is also easiest to type fast on. However, if there’s no wifi, I can’t switch to mobile data.

Tablets and smart phones have the advantages of data and being compact. I’ll often use these when I’m tweeting as an audience member. They just aren’t as nimble and it’s more difficult to access any notes etc that you’ve pre-written. More on those below.

No matter which way you go, don’t forget to fully charge it AND bring any power cables with you.

  • Software

This is another area where you have a myriad of choices: HootSuite, Sprout, TweetDeck (for desktop), and more. I’ve found HootSuite and TweetDeck best for live tweeting for their layout. Multiple, customizable streams on one screen makes it easy to see what’s going on and plan your tweets. TweetDeck uses for links, so stats record into Sprout Social, which I use the rest of the time. It also have a new live update feature; it’s good to get the information quickly, but a bit dizzying.

  • Notes

Preparing notes before the event will make your day so much easier. In a word doc note down all the speaker names, bios, Twitter handles etc. If you can get their presentations, do it! You can pre-write tweets and include any links the speaker may reference during their presentation. It’ll save you time and make your tweets more shareable. Doing all this in Word means you can copy and paste quickly. Others will be tweeting too. To get the best result, you need to be first and accurate.

  • Data versus WiFi

WiFi is more reliable and faster, but not always accessible. Make sure you ask for passwords and test the connection beforehand.

  • Choose a hashtag

Decide on the hashtag before the event and publicize it. The hashtag should be unique and descriptive – don’t forget people outside the event will see it and may join in. Search the hashtag to ensure no-one else is using it.

During the Event

  • Introduction Tweets

Don’t forget to start off by introducing the event, announcing the hashtag and thanking any sponsors. Letting your followers know that you’ll be tweeting about the event will minimize their annoyance if they’re not attending.

  • Quotes and Sound Bites

Only tweet quotes that your followers will find interesting. This will maximize retweets and engagement. Attribute quotes, where possible, using the person’s Twitter handle. That’s where the notes come in. Think like a journalist when choosing quotes. If it would make a great headline, it’ll make a great tweet.

  • ReTweets

If an attendee tweets a quote that you missed, retweet it. You won’t catch everything, so they can fill the gaps. Also, they’ll get a kick from you giving them kudos.

  • Engagement

If you can, interact with the audience. There’s a lot going on, so ask questions during the speaker change overs or during meal breaks. Favorite takeaway tip and best speaker are good things to ask.

  • Panel Discussions

There is no amount of preparation to make this easy. Even having the questions beforehand won’t work. The conversation will be wibbly-wobbly, people will speak over each other, and you’ll be listening for the next sound bite while you’re tweeting the last so attribution is tricky. Mistakes will happen. Don’t stress about them at the time, and sent corrections and apologies immediately after the event or discussion.

Post Event

  • Closing Off

At the end of the event, tweet thank yous to speakers, attendees, participants and sponsors. Invite everyone to keep the conversation going via the hashtag.

  • Save the Tweets

Tweets have a short lifespan, so export them immediately. Your Twitter app should have an export function. An Excel file makes it easier to search and analyse them.

  • Statistics and Analysis

Your Twitter app may be able to do this, or you can manually analyse the tweets in Excel. If you’re using Excel, the sort and filter functions are brilliant. Pivot tables will be tricky because you’re only counting snippets within the tweets, not the entire cell.

Useful things to count are the number of total tweets, number of tweets by you, number of tweets by audience members, number of retweets, number of mentions, number of times the hashtag was used, number of likes, and the number of unique users participating. You could take it further and add number of clicks or sentiment, but all of this takes time and some analyses take more time than you get benefit.

  • Tactics Review and Lessons Learned

Think over what you did and how you would change it for next time. It could be to have a back-up person to cover breaks or to have a second person help during a panel discussion. Chat to your colleagues and trusted audiences members for their thoughts.

Would you add anything else? Please share in the comments.

Photo Credit: IABC/Seattle