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.

Guess Who’s a HootSuite Brand Ambassador?

Posted by on Sunday, 13 April, 2014

HootSuite-Brand-AmbassadorHey, I’m in social media. I’m a marketer. I love to share and promote great products. That’s why I’ve joined the HootSuite Brand Ambassador program.

You all know the benefits of a strong community for brands. It’s a free extension of your PR team, word of mouth by peers is more trusted than your marketing messages, the list goes on. HootSuite have done this very well, and globally. Last year the volunteer HootSuite Brand Ambassadors held more than 150 HootUps (events) in 22 countries. That’s in addition to participation in online chats, creating links and mentions, and personal recommendations. I challenge you to put a dollar value to that.

What do I Get for Joining the HootSuite Brand Ambassador Team?

I do score a few perks. My HootSuite University and Pro memberships are comped for three months, a bunch of swag, a significant discount on the Newhouse Advanced Social Media Strategy certificate, inclusion in a active community, and the privilege of bragging about it.

Pretty good for what I’d do for free.

Is This Why I Switched from Sprout Social?

No. The switch and becoming certified with HootSuite University both occurred before I knew about the HootSuite Brand Ambassador program.

Around the time I wrote about my content curation process, we switched up the PSAMA social media process. We needed team members to have access to all our profiles, and at $40 per user, per month Sprout Social was just too expensive. I love their analytics and reporting, but I don’t feel I can ask volunteers to pay a subscription and I can’t justify it enough for the chapter to pay. HootSuite Pro gives me an additional user with the $9.95 per month fee. Even with adding HootSuite University I was financially ahead.

What’s Next?

Planning has started for #HootUpSEA – a Seattle gathering. There are a few other ambassadors local and we’re working together. Add search stream #HootUpSEA for updates. Also, I join in the weekly #HSUChat (soon to become #HSChat). It’s Tuesdays at 11am Pacific and a great conversation open to all. Even if I find the topic not relevant to me (last week was social media second screening television), I follow and get a tip or two.

If you have any HootSuite or social media questions, feel free to Tweet me at @BiancaJSmith. Or just Tweet to say hi.

Finally, the HootSuite Ambassador program is accepting applications for all regions. Complete the application form, and don’t forget to tell them I sent you.

PS, Seattle HootSuite users: do you want a content or purely social #HootUpSEA? Let me know in the comments.

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.

HootSuite University – Celebrating My New Certification

Posted by on Sunday, 23 February, 2014

If you’re learning something and there’s a certification attached, it seems a waste not to sit the exam. This morning I passed the HootSuite University exam.

This week I switched back to HootSuite to manage my social media accounts, and it confused the bleep out of me. It just looks so cluttered and messy. But, Sprout Social is just too expensive to run teams of volunteers; I’ll live with fewer analytics.

My Saturday night was an hour of videos (yes, I’m such a party animal), and my Sunday morning an hour long exam that took 15 minutes.

Achievement Unlocked: HootSuite University
HootSuite Certified Professional

What was HootSuite University like?

I can think of better ways to spend my weekend. OK, it wasn’t that bad, but I did take a few breaks to stop the monotony. Others reviewing the course said it takes four to nine hours, so when the advanced videos (the second class) got a tad dull, I switched to the social media courseware. To be honest that was so basic (really, it defines a Tweet), so I switched to the exams and skipped a lot of videos. After completing these, I discovered they actually aren’t needed to be certified. Yes, that was wasted time. I didn’t need four hours.

There’s no FAQ or instructions on how to actually get certified. The HootSuite University website outlines the benefits and costs, but not which courses are required (they offer lots of courses), or the pass rate. This would have helped. I’m still actually not exactly sure the pass rate. It’s higher than 80%. Oh, and there are 40 questions to be answered within a hour. If you fail, you’re told which answers were incorrect and the chance to sit the exam again immediately. I was a little cheeky and copied my answers down before hitting submit. My 80% on my first attempt was easier to improve upon when I didn’t have to think about the 36 questions I got right when resitting it.

The knowledge I gained in the two classes plus exam needed for certification won’t actually help me be a better social media marketer. It only shows that I can navigate my way around HootSuite and I have the $21 per month to maintain the certification. However, the additional courses and lecture series, along with being listed as a certified social media marketer justifies the price.

Have you completed HootSuite University or another social media certification? What did you think?

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.