A cheap, easy tool for scheduling your social media posts

I’m now managing a couple of client social media accounts, and just wanted to let you know about one of my favorite tools for scheduling posts.

Buffer logoI’m now managing a couple of client social media accounts, and just wanted to let you know about Buffer. It’s an easy, inexpensive way to schedule your Facebook, Twitter, Google + and LinkedIn updates in advance.

The nice thing about Buffer is that it gives you tremendous flexibility. If you have messages that are appropriate for all your platforms, you only have to post them once and it’s done. Yet it allows you to post to individual social media accounts, too. And it’s easy to reschedule posts if need be.

You can schedule up to ten posts at a time with the free version, but I recommend upgrading. For 10 bucks a month you can schedule unlimited posts. This lets you work much more efficiently because you can consolidate your social media time by scheduling ahead weeks or even months.

Is it flawless? No. But the company does have an awesome customer support team. I give them a solid A-. If you have been struggling to keep up with your social media, give it a try. (Or call me. Or both!) 🙂

Rock LinkedIn in 2014! LinkedIn expert Sherry Sexton shares her secrets to success

Not sure how to get the most benefit from the world’s most popular social site for business? LinkedIn expert Sherry Sexton shares dozens of juicy tips to help you rock LinkedIn in 2014 and beyond in this exclusive podcast interview.

Sherry Sexton, LinkedIn expertWhatever your business networking needs, LinkedIn is a great place to go. But so often I speak to people who tell me, “I’m on LinkedIn, but honestly, I have no idea how to use it.”

If that’s you – or if you are already using LinkedIn but want to get even more benefit from it, you’re in luck! I recently had the great good fortune to interview LinkedIn expert Sherry Sexton. Sherry was kind enough to share dozens of juicy tips to help you rock LinkedIn in 2014 and beyond!

Click here for audio interview with LinkedIn expert Sherry Sexton

I’ve posted Sherry’s entire interview as a podcast. Here are just a few highlights:

  • Don’t use your logo on your personal profile. LinkedIn can shut you down for that. Save it for your business page.
  • Instead of using the default “I’d like to connect with you on LinkedIn” connection invitation, personalize it for the individual. You’ll stand out from the crowd, and they’ll be more likely to accept.
  • Fill out your profile completely, and use relevant keywords when you do. You’ll attract the right people so much more easily!

The full interview also includes great tips on:

  • Exactly what kind of profile picture to use to increase trust and authority on LinkedIn
  • What never to do on LinkedIn – do it often enough and you could get kicked off the platform
  • How choose LinkedIn groups to join and what to do once you’ve joined them
  • And much more

Listen to interview with LinkedIn expert Sherry Sexton

Check it out. Whether you’re looking for B2B customers, need business advice, are looking for a new job, or just want to connect with other like-minded business people, you’re sure to learn something from Sherry to improve your LinkedIn experience. I sure did!

How about yourself – are you a LinkedIn whiz with tips to share? Do you have questions about how to use LinkedIn effectively? Post them below!

My newsletter subscribers will receive a written transcript of this and future interviews, with all the useful tips highlighted. You can, too. Just sign up here!

 

 

Not sure what to put on Pinterest? Handy infographic offers dozens of board ideas for your pinning pleasure

Do you have a business you know could benefit from exposure on Pinterest, but you’re not quite sure how to start? No worries. Just check out this fabulous infographic, courtesy of Pinterest expert Andrea Ayers, for dozens of great ideas sure to attract not just traffic, but customers targeted specifically for your business.

Pinterest logoDo you have a business you know could benefit from exposure on Pinterest, but you’re not quite sure how to start? No worries. Just check out this fabulous infographic, courtesy of Pinterest expert Andrea Ayers, for dozens of great ideas sure to attract not just traffic, but customers targeted specifically for your business.

Notice especially Andrea’s suggestions suitable for all entrepreneurs. How many of these items are ones you already have at your fingertips? Do you have a blog? Pin your posts! Already have case studies or success stories written up? Pin ’em! Same goes with press mentions, your social media profiles, and any free reports or brochures you distribute. And if you have a smart phone, get into the habit of snapping photos your customers will find interesting – both within your business and outside of it.

All these things will load your Pinterest boards with original content, which is the very best thing for attracting relevant traffic.

launchgrowjoy 142-Pinterest-board-ideas-infographic

Do you use Pinterest for business? Have a board you’re especially proud of? Please share below!

Why Pinterest Rocks, and the Best Way to Schedule Pins

Viraltag logoIf women – especially well-heeled U.S. and Canadian women between the ages of 25 and 45are an important demographic for your retail business, and you are not yet using Pinterest regularly, here are a few facts you should know:

  • Pinterest rocks social sharing in the retail category, snagging 41% of shared content vs. Facebook’s 37%, according to a survey by social login provider Gigya.
  • Pinterest users spend significantly more on the average transaction than traffic from any other social source, including Facebook.
  • Pinterest continues to enjoy robust growth, particularly in the mobile sector.
  • It is now possible to schedule pins in advance, making adding Pinterest to your social media strategy so much easier.

Scheduling regular pins does make a difference. I recently started scheduling just one pin a day for one of my clients, and she reports a five-fold increase in Pinterest trafffic as a result.

The best way to schedule pins

Unfortunately, most comprehensive social sharing applications, such as Hootsuite and Buffer, don’t yet include Pinterest in the mix. That leaves just three Pinterest scheduling options that I am aware of: an app called 10Alike (formerly Reachli), Piquora, and Viraltag. (Let me know if you come across any others.)

Let me tell you about my experience with 10Alike/Reachli: it sucked. Enough said. Although to be fair, they were undergoing a major restructuring during the time I began using the app. So they may turn out to be OK after all. The service is free, so you won’t lose much if you want to try them out. Except for, possibly, a fair amount of time and patience. If you try them, be sure to read the instructions in the initial pop-up carefully, since you may not get another chance once you dismiss it. (If you should happen to have a good experience, please tell me about it – I might reconsider my evaluation once they’ve figured themselves out.)

I haven’t yet had the opportunity to use Piquora, but I’ve been using Viraltag for a couple of weeks now and love it. It is very easy to use. Once it’s set up you can pin right from your browser toolbar. It takes just a few seconds, and you can customize the title and exact timing of your pin, as well as choose which board you want to pin to. (Just one word of warning: I had trouble using Firefox with the app, but it runs flawlessly for me on Chrome.)

Viraltag is not free (although it does come with a free 2-week trial), but with price points starting at $4.99 a month it’s affordable enough for anyone. If you have been neglecting Pinterest because you just don’t have the time to pin regularly, do consider testing this option.

(Or, if you’d rather not deal with it at all, but would still like to find out how an increased presence on Pinterest might improve your traffic and sales, drop me a line – I’d be happy to talk to you about taking it off your hands.) 😉

 

Affiliate disclaimer: I am not an affiliate of Viraltag, Piquora, or (God forbid) 10Alike.

Social Media: A Support Tool or Menace for Sustainability in Business?

Social Media Butterfly Iliyana Stareva shares research and insights on using social media to promote sustainability and green products and services

Iliyana Stareva, Social Media Butterfly
Social Media Butterfly Iliyana Stareva shares research and insights on using social media to promote sustainability and green products and services

A few months back I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Iliyana Stareva, then a graduate student in management and marketing at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts in Dortmund, Germany, as part of her research for her dissertation, “The Power of Social Media as a Communications Channel for Creating Business Sustainability Value: a Support Tool or Menace?”

As you might guess, Iliyana’s research is an excellent resource for anyone marketing sustainable products or services, as well as any company interested in sharing its sustainability initiatives publicly.

On her blog, Iliyana graciously invites sharing of her findings. So it is my pleasure to include an excerpt from her post about the project. Here (in Iliyana’s own words) are the main conclusions of her research (I have emphasized certain key ideas and phrases that I think are highly important for green marketers):

  • There is a need for a new business culture based on the ability to feel and show empathy and the ability to change and move away from traditional horizontal and vertical business approaches towards a web, ecosystem and dialogue-based mindset for more innovative and value-driven collaboration. Consequently, there is a requirement to change the currently very dry, technical and preaching-like nature of sustainability communications towards making it more relevant, emotional, fun, provocative and engaging in order to better reach audiences on a larger scale.
  • In this regard, social media can be that new tool because, since it shares the same values as sustainability (community, transparency, authenticity, innovation, creativity and collaboration), combining and aligning the two concepts could have a powerful impact on effectively balancing the triple bottom line. Social media can thus be an asset that companies should capitalise on, as it can provide competitive advantages and allow brands to become pioneers. But, real commitment to social media sustainability communications is nevertheless required. Most importantly, both practices need to be embedded throughout the organisation – only then can they be effective.   
  • Social media allows companies to be creative, authentic, honest and transparent in their sustainability communications approaches and offers them the platforms to attentively listen and directly respond to what customers and other stakeholders are saying. Hence, social media provides tremendous benefits for organisations to increase brand awareness, promote sustainability initiatives and efforts, engage with stakeholders, integrate them into the company processes, facilitate knowledge management, advocate green activities and inspire sustainable lifestyles.
  • As a support tool social media can not only serve as a communications channel, it can go beyond just sharing information to being a collaboration and co-operation tool that can create value and drive real change through storytelling, community building, crowdsourcing, open innovation and co-creation. Thus, social media can be a strong differentiator and a source of transparent and engaging competitive advantage for business sustainability and so help create a sustainable brand.
  • On the other hand, as social media gives everyone a voice and allows for information to spread rapidly like a virus, brands have lost control over the conversation and it becomes a challenge how to deal with stakeholder scrutiny and negativity expressed online. Those, who try to control the conversation in persuasive and manipulative manners or by deleting comments, are put at the risk of a crisis that can seriously damage or even destroy a company’s reputation. Organisations that lack transparency and honesty in their communications are inevitably found out.
  • Not understanding the nature of social media and ignoring its transparency requirement by, for example, choosing practices such as greenwashing is a main reason for inducing the menacing role social media can play. But because on social media nothing stays hidden brands are required to ‘walk the talk’, aligning content with context.
  • The benefits of social media outweigh the risks for most organisations; those who fail to understand the new social landscape will be endangered of having their business disrupted by social technologies.

(If you have read my white paper on FTC compliance, you might recognize many of the key concepts echoed in Iliyana’s findings.)

Iliyana ends with a profound thought: that it is the responsibility of businesses to be leaders in the shift towards a more sustainable world.

To enhance the present and preserve the future companies must play their role in educating society… Education, though, starts with communication – if society is not made aware of the issues and their extents, then solving them is not possible. As Galileo once said, “you cannot teach a man anything; you can only help him to find it within himself” – people cannot be forced or driven to agree or act in the way others want; people need to be gently and friendly led, inspired and engaged to change their minds. This is where the potential of social media lies because it is first and for most about people and relationships.

This is an especially important point.  With all the risk of greenwashing it can be tempting to steer clear of addressing sustainability, but ultimately it’s in everyone’s best interest to keep it top of mind publicly as well as when planning one’s own corporate sustainability initiatives.

One last gift from Iliyana (who, by the way, received an A+ on her dissertation and is now the Social Media Account Manager at Brandzeichen Markenberatung und Kommunikation GmbH in Duesseldorf – congratulations, Iliyana!): this awesome Best Practice Guide infographic you can use to help your company stay on the good side of social media:

 Sustainability Social Media Best Practice Infographic

 

Hurray! I made the Top 5% Most Viewed LinkedIn profiles for 2012!

All I can say is “Thank you!” to everyone who viewed my LinkedIn profile in 2012. I hope I lived up to your expectations.
And when you come to visit again, please drop a line, even just to say “hi” or introduce yourself. I totally value your connection

Wow. What can I say? I’m floored. And flattered. And humbled.

Top 5% congratulations email from LinkedIn
I was totally not expecting this in my inbox this morning.

All I can say is “Thank you!” to everyone who viewed my LinkedIn profile in 2012. I hope I lived up to your expectations.

And when you come to visit again, please drop a line, even just to say “hi” or introduce yourself. I totally value your connection. And just maybe we’ll stumble upon a way to help each other out! 🙂