Posts Tagged social media

Hootsuite University – Six Months Later

Posted by on Saturday, 9 August, 2014

HootSuite Certified ProfessionalOne of the most popular pages on here is the post announcing my Hootsuite University certification. Understandably people want to check it before pulling out their credit card. I know I did.

Was Hootsuite University Worth It?

The short answer is yes.

As I mentioned in the original post, I did more work to become certified than I needed to. I could have done three courses, I did 10. I just felt it was too easy with just the three and the instructions weren’t clear. Fortunately the videos were easy to follow and some of the courseware is beginner level. I also had the advantage of having come back to Hootsuite after using Sprout Social for nearly a year.

So, what did I gain apart from $21 of credit card loyalty points each month and my name on a website?

How about a new client? In March I was asked to help a local foundation out with their digital execution for a few weeks. They were a Hootsuite Enterprise client and didn’t have a lot of time to train the contractor. Being Hootsuite University certified meant it was one less thing to train. Oddly, I’m still working with that foundation as their acting Communications Manager.

After my first day with that client I used another benefit of Hootsuite University – the additional training. There are four courses on just Hootsuite Enterprise, but also five sets of videos. The videos take you through how to grow and engage your social media audiences, becoming a social business, best practices and then by department and industry sector. That night I started with the Enterprise then hit the non-profits. The videos are interviews with leaders in those sectors, so you’re not just hearing from the Hootsuite team.

The final favorite benefit is #HSUChat. This was actually the first one I got into and now I’m disappointed I travel between clients and miss it. For those not in a car at 11am on Tuesday, follow #HSUchat for insightful discussion. The topic is generally announced on the Monday and is often lead by a social media manager who has had success in that area. The chat isn’t restricted to Hootsuite University graduates, so just in to the conversation.

There are more benefits, like being listed in the directory, but I don’t know if I’ve directly benefited from that. no one has mentioned that’s how they found me.

Do you have any questions about the certification? Add them in the comments. Oh, and if you’re one of the people Googling to find the Hootsuite University exam answers, just watch the videos and stop being lazy. Don’t deny it, Google Analytics tells all.

Book Review: The Digital Mystique

Posted by on Sunday, 13 July, 2014

the-digital-mystiqueRemember that little disclaimer on the Marketing Book Reviews page that said the definition of marketing was a little loose? The The Digital Mystique by Sarah Granger is one of those.

What is the Digital Mystique About?

It’s a quick book to help you understand social media and everyday online technology. It covers the main social media networks, but also kids online, seniors online, online dating, running a business, and even social media when you pass away.

Who is the Digital Mystique For?

I think it’s clear already that this book is not for you (assuming you’re a regular Tap Dancing Spiders reader). But it is a book that you would purchase – several times. Buy it for that annoying aunt who keeps peppering you with beginner questions about Facebook. Or buy it for the grandparents wanting to chat to the grandkids online. Buy it for the parents of Tweens who think that because they don’t use social media their little darling never will.

This book covers all those demographics and more, possibly a bit too much so. It’s a little jumpy with covering so many people and this may change in the final edition. I have an unedited prerelease copy and in some parts it’s very unedited, so I’m sure there will be more changes. Get around the jumpiness by marking the chapters applicable to that recipient, and directing their reading.

Another reason why your techno-curious aunt will love this book: she’ll feel a connection with the author. Despite being active on BBSs as a young teen, social media and the technology behind it seems to still be a novelty to Sarah. The same as it is for the book’s audience.

Save yourself from the frustrating questions this Christmas and put this under the tree. In the meanwhile, if you have a NetGalley account and are curious, head over and request a prerelease copy, like the one they generously gave me in the hope of a review.

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.

Are you ready for #HootUpSEA?

Posted by on Sunday, 1 June, 2014

#HootUpSEAWhat do HUG, MUG and #HootUpSEA have in common?

They’re all user groups.

What’s this? You haven’t heard of #HootUpSEA? That’s because it’s new. The Seattle HootSuite users and friends are having their first user event, or as well call it, #HootUp. It’s also my first public activity as a HootSuite Ambassador for North America.

Join us on Wednesday June 18 at Fado’s Irish pub in Pioneer Square for Happy Hour. There will be marketers and social media people, along with others, sharing tips and ideas over a drink. And, it’s a #HootUp so I can promise you swag. We also don’t discriminate. If you don’t use HootSuite, we’d still love to meet you.

Space is limited, so please RSVP quickly. It’s free.

See you there and keep hooting.

PS, special thanks to fellow #HootAmb Kim Castlemain for the photo.

Book Review: The Social Media Gospel

Posted by on Sunday, 25 May, 2014

Social Media GospelAre you one of the few who still doesn’t “get” social media? Meredith Gould’s book, The Social Media Gospel will help you understand why it’s important, and gives you some tips to get started for your Church.

Meredith is a professional communicator, predominantly advising Churches and clergy on digital communications – including social media. She’s very open with her begrudging start to social media, and this is definitely a strength for The Social Media Gospel. The fact that she’s not a digital native does show all through the book. I don’t think it’s intentional. For me it’s off-putting but it will appeal to her target audience.

What’s the Social Media Gospel about? It’s a book to help you be a better digital communicator for your church. Meredith describes all the arguments churches present against using social media as a comms tool, and counters them, fairly and well-researched. She will help you understand the behaviors behind the choices, and I especially love the chapter on different learning styles and which social media platforms relate to each. Meredith doesn’t really touch on the how of social media, but is thorough on the why – sometimes when she’s trying to explain the how. It’s a good starter, to then get you looking more at the specific techniques for each platform.

There are two changes I would make to this book. One is a major one, the other a personal irritation. The major one is that the Social Media Gospel doesn’t explain that communications is all about your audience. Meridith is right with saying that you should pick and choose which social media platforms according to your time and resources; not take it all on. What she missed though is getting the reader to examine where their audience is playing. The communicator may feel more comfortable on Pinterest, but if their audience isn’t there, it’s wasted time. The second is the cheesy inclusion of scripture and praise messages. It feels a little over-the-top and unnecessary. But then again, maybe I should have expected it from a social media book with gospel in the title. Exodus 20:3-4 comes to mind. Is this book really a gospel?

Who is The Social Media Gospel for?

Clergy who are uncomfortable with social media and digital communication techniques. There are terms that make the book appear older than its 2013 publication date: web 1.0 (and subsequent generations), and age-based demographics, as well as the term digital native. It works well for the audience. Meredith originally shunned computers for anything more than word processing, and the readers who’ll get the most of out The Social Media Gospel likely did the same.

Thanks to Kerry Allman of the Episcopal Diocese of Olympia for the loan of the Social Media Gospel.