Social media is connection! There you go… now, if you want, you can leave my site….!!! Ok – you’re still here, so I’m going to assume that you will stick with me throughout this entire article!!! (RIGHT?- well, at least skim the main points – I’ve highlighted them in bold). In this article I am going to tell you my favorite ways to automate social media. It’s easy to get overwhelmed trying to plan the a Social Media Strategy, this will really help you save time and increase your productivity. Before we start, I need to EMPHATICALLY communicate the importance of connecting with your social network.
The #1 rule: the most important aspect of social media strategy is understanding this principal: WRITE CONTENT FOR YOUR FOLLOWERS- NOT FOR YOURSELF! As a social media marketer, I am well aware why we all have a social network. The one primary reason we have a social network is because it promotes our services (to make money).
The first word in Social Media is Social, so you have to think about your networks as a real relationship. People do not want to hang out with someone who always talks about themselves. If you are going to nurture a growing social media platform, you have to make people feel like they are important to you! Write content for them, and about them. You can write posts like…
“!BIG INTERNET HUGS! We really appreciate you guys, and we just wanted to say thank you for being really amazing customers!”
The “internet Hugs” Facebook post was one of the most viewed, and liked posts that I’ve ever published. People love to feel noticed! It’s ok to automate some of the social media process, but you will still have to interact with people to get them to interact with you. OK… Moving on, now you get to enjoy my list of the 7 best social media marketing tools in 2011.
There are 4 main tools that I use to automate Twitter’s aspect of social media marketing. They each service a specific purpose. I’m sure there are more, and if you have any suggestions feel free to talk about them in the comments below. I would love to learn about the other tools out there.
1: Twiends: Twiends is a service that allows you to essentially trade followers. Every time you follow people, you are given “seeds” and every time someone follows you, you lose your seeds. Twiends is a giant #TEAMFOLLOWBACK party. Basically, this a bartering system for follows.
There has been some controversy about Twiends, because aggressive following and un-following is not endorsed by Twitter. Officially, my opinion on Twiends is that you can use it to get a lot of followers really fast, but just keep in mind that they aren’t going to be true fans, at least not right away. These people are not following you because they like you, they are following you because they want you to follow them back. You will have to make your own opinion on Twiends. If you choose to use this service, it can be powerful, but it should only be used as a supplement to your strategy.
2: Tweepie: In Tweepie you can quickly follow and unfollow large groups of people. One of the main reasons I use it is to unfollow people who aren’t following me back. Tweepie also allows you to follow people’s followers. Let’s say you have an ice cream shop in town, and you want to promote yourself on twitter. You can follow all of the people who are following your competitors and start talking to them online. The hope here is that the people you follow will follow you back and become your fans. Tweepie is a lot of fun! I definitely suggest that you check it out.
3: Tweet Deck: Tweet deck is a popular 3rd party platform. It allows you to manage multiple social networks from one place. At the time of this article Tweet Deck supports: Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, LinkedIn, Google Buzz and Foursquare accounts. You can see what people are saying to you, and reply to them from within tweet dace. You can also get a Google Chrome (my favorite browser) version. The most powerful feature of Tweet Deck is the built-in search functionality. Tweet Deck allows you to search your social network feeds for keywords, which are a SEO’s bread and butter. You can search for people talking about “insert your subject here” and start a conversation with them.
The biggest negative part of Social Media is sheer volume, am I right? So Tweet Deck’s primary downside is that it exposes you to so much “chatter” all at once, sometimes this can be a little overwhelming, but if you learn how to squeeze it into your work flow, it can definitely help to automate your social media marketing.
4: Timely.is: This is my final free twitter tool. Timely.is keeps track and analyzes your tweet history. It records the times when people are the most interactive and then it schedules tweets during those times. This will help you get the highest impact per tweet. I use Timely to do two things. First, schedule tweets and secondly I use it to analyze what kinds of tweets are the most effective.
I run basic A/B tests on the “style” of my tweets. For example, I will send out 2 almost identical tweets, one will say “Hey check out our free stuff” and the other will say, “Have you checked out our free stuff”. Then, I evaluate the performance of each tweet, which timely.is does automatically. After a few weeks of A/B testing you will start to get compelling statistics for what kinds of tweets people respond to the most.
Facebook is currently the worlds largest social network. There are 750 million active users! That is CRAZY, does anyone realize how amazing that is? 750 million is bigger than most countries! So, obviously, the potential of exposing your brand on this social network is fairly substantial. Having said that, facebook is still just another social experience and facebook has the same basic rules of engagement…you have to connect with people and make them feel valuable.
These tools that I’m about to give you will help you automate your social media marketing processes. They will not create success by themselves. These tools will help you test and automate parts of your facebook marketing strategy.
5: Pagelever: page lever is like facebook insights on… um protein powder (I didn’t want to say steroids, because I don’t want people searching for that key-word to find my post, oops, I guess I said it anyway!)
This is the analytics program that I use. Pagelever allows you to track everything that happens on facebook. Did you know that you usually only reach about 8% of your fans? So, if you have 5,000 fans, only 400 people see your posts! That sucks! As social media marketing professionals, we invest a lot of time and energy into getting those fans, at the very least we want to show up in MOST of their news feeds.
Pagelever is the timely.is for facebook (only better) it shows you which posts get the most impact. It shows you exactly how many people interact with each post, and it creates detailed and interactive charts. Pagelever shows you which posts get the most views. I use it to research correlation data,( cor·re·la·tion/ˌkôrəˈlāSHən/Noun) 1. A mutual relationship or connection between two or more things, for example pages that rank highly in google serps also have a high amount of facebook shares, this isn’t necessarily the cause of their ranking, but it is “correlation”) Did you know that posts with pictures will usually get more views… even if they don’t have as many likes or comments as other posts.
Page lever will show you which posts have the furthest reach, it will show you which posts have the most likes, shares, comments, clicks, it will even show you the demographics of the people interacting with the posts. You can literally see what kind of posts women like more than men. I could go on and on about the page lever software… but you should just check it out for yourself.
6: Facebook Comments: you may have noticed that some blogs have started using Facebook comments on their website. If you have a website that encourages commenting, you should seriously consider using facebook comments.
if you want to implement Facebook Comments on your blog you have two options, you can either develop your own facebook app. (don’t worry, it’s easier than it sounds, but you can contact me for help with this if you don’t want to do it yourself) or you can install a WordPress plugin.
Why use facebook comments? Facebook comments will simultaneously post a comment on your blog, and the commentor’s facebook wall. Using Facebook comments on your site will increase the regularity of social sharing. They make it very easy for people to share your content. For example: let’s pretend that I visit your blog and read a post about “why graphic designers love twitter”. If I comment on your post using facebook comments, then all of my friends will see my post. If one of my friends responds to my comment ( which is now on my facebook wall) their response will show up on your website and on my wall. Facebook comments= more visibility and more interaction.
7: Bit.ly: I know this isn’t actually a social media tool, but I wanted to include it anyway, and it will automate part of your social marketing process. If you are in social media marketing or Seo you absolutely HAVE to use trackable urls. Bit.ly gives you a way to shorten long urls without loosing link value or trackability.
A lot of people ask if using URL shorteners are good for seo. The short answer to that question is “not usually”. You will usually lose most link juice if you use a generic URL shortener. Some shorteners create no follow links which essentially gives their website seo credit, and does not help yours. Bit.ly saves the day! bit.ly on the other hand allows you to sign up for a free, or paid account, and they actually 301 permanently redirect links back to your original long link.
The paid version of bit.ly will give you a branded URL shortener. Personally I don’t use the paid version, but if I did my short URL would look like this:http://gnius.com/alsk if you want to read more about the seo “pros and cons” of URL shorteners, read this seomoz article