Tag: social media marketing

Automatic Thank You Tweets – Why All The Hate?

The Auto Thank

Why does everyone hate it so much?

Okay, actually, I get it why many people hate the idea of an auto-thank on Twitter when they get new followers. When every single person gets the same canned “Thanks for following me!” response, it can be fairly off-putting, and generally no one cares enough about those tweets to even respond.  Yes, it’s generally considered a good idea to thank your new followers and try to get conversations going, but the thing is, you have to care and have to want to start a conversation.  The “Thanks for following me!” tweet doesn’t inspire the start of a conversation – it ends one. There’s nothing there for anyone to interact with.

“Exactly!” you say. “That’s why the auto-thank is such a bad idea!”

Automatic Thank You

Well, no, not quite.

The bland, boring, single sentence of an auto thank is definitely a terrible idea.  Congratulations, I care just as little about you following me as the other 600 saps who’ve done so in the last year!  Or what’s worse, that automatic tweet + DM combo plugging the person’s book, blog, website, product line, and offering consulting services – first month free!  Yeesh, could you shove any more of your self-promotional crap down my throat?  No thanks, I’ll not only ignore those people, but probably unfollow them, too.

If you thank all of your new followers with the same general “thanks for following me!” type of response, does it really matter if you hand typed that bland baloney, or if you set it up as an automatic response?

However, there’s a better way.  I touched on it in my blog about automating Twitter – there’s quite a bit you can do to make it easier and more efficient to use Twitter in your marketing.  What you need to do first is the not so fun task of recording data.

It doesn’t have to be a fancy spreadsheet (although I am fond of those), you can simply keep a tally or just use a Twitter followers analyzer to see what types of followers you typically get.  What I also did was keep rough track of the different types of “thanks for following me” tweets I ended up sending to these types of followers.  What I’ve found for myself and for my clients is that over time, you end up sending the same types of thank you tweets to the same types of followers.

Once you start seeing trends, that’s where automation can come in.  If you’re using Socialbro, like I am, you can set triggers for new followers that fall into (x) category, and set a group of 4 or 5 variations on the thank you tweet to go out to those followers.  Make sure that your thank you tweets include a question – that’s where a lot of folks go wrong, or at least, less right.  You want the thank you tweet to spark a conversation, without having to type out 50 of them yourself before someone will answer you.

I use the auto thank as a first round to test the waters.  If someone isn’t going to bother to reply to a tweet asking them how their week is going, what project they’re excited about right now, or what the last great blog or article they read was, they’re not really someone I care that much about attempting to engage with anyway.  At least, not in that first tweet.  They may respond better if I reply to a tweet they send first, but either way, regardless of how that “thanks for following me!” tweet got to them, they weren’t going to answer.

I use my auto-thanks both as a way to keep engagement up in general, and as a way to try and start conversations with the huge variety of people who follow me.  I update and cycle through my thank you prompts on a regular basis, and anyone who answers the thank you tweet gets a response – from me, personally, as soon as I see it.  No one really seems to mind, and it has started some interesting conversations with my new followers, which is exactly what I want.  It’s also saved me immense amounts of time!  New followers get a thank you, and if they answer, we have a conversation.  Meanwhile, those who don’t answer, I don’t lose out in wasted time or effort crafting a custom “thank you” for someone who wasn’t going to answer anyway.

Do NOT use the auto-thank as a way to plug your stuff.  You should be doing that after personally talking/tweeting to the person, and seeing a legitimate way your services or blog post could help them.  Provide a link to your book if they ask, or if it’s relevant to your conversation.  Sending a link to things like that unasked for is kind of like those guys on the boardwalk in Venice beach, jumping in front of your face and trying to get you to buy their mixtape.  No one wants to, and we all actively try to avoid making eye contact so they don’t try.

So don’t be boring.  Don’t be the crazy mixtape guy from the beach.

Try to start a conversation.  And try to engage the other person in a meaningful way.  Everyone’s answer to “what’s the latest project you’ve been working on?” is going to be different, just as their answer to “what’s the last blog post you read that you loved?” will be different.  And that’s where the quality connecting and engagement comes from!

Sprout Social – For When You Need More Than “Just” a Dashboard

Continuing the series on incredibly helpful social media tools, we move to my other absolute favorite paid tool, Sprout Social.  Now, this one is by no means cheap compared to other methods.  It is honestly the most expensive tool I pay for, but I feel it’s worth it for the amount of time I save.  That is, ultimately, the best way to decide whether or not a specific tool is appropriate in your situation – is it saving you enough to pay for itself?  If you’re self-employed, like myself, actually assign your time a monetary value.  If you don’t think your time has a monetary value, you’re mistaken, and probably selling yourself short (more on this in a later blog post).

Moving on to Sprout Social – this has replaced Buffer for me, but I also manage many accounts.   It offers a single dashboard for you to view Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Plus, and Instagram, although you can’t reply or see comments on Linkedin and Google Plus.  You can’t schedule posts for Instagram, and due to a change in the way Facebook pages work, the ability to schedule from a feed directly to a Facebook page is offline as of this writing.  You can still post links to curated content, you just can’t directly post from your news feed, which is slightly less convenient than before.

However, now that we’ve looked at what you can’t do, let’s look at all it can.

The smart inbox is one of the best features – everything for all channels in one place.  If you have multiple clients, like I do, you can sort them into groups and just see the messages that need responding for a single client at a time.  You could never leave the smart inbox and still have the bare minimum of necessary engagement covered.  You can leave notes as you respond to specific messages, or if you’re large enough to have a team, you can assign tasks to team members and leave notes on specific people you reply to.  I use it to keep notes on specific people that I respond to on behalf of clients, or to note where a client wants to personally communicate with certain accounts.  It can function similarly to a CRM, but since the search function doesn’t include your personal notes, there’s no real ability to tag specific users.  You can tag prospects as sales leads, though, which is useful as you go through Twitter prospecting.

The tasks bar allows you to assign tasks for responding, sales leads, or customer support, depending on your needs.  You can use it as an extension of your own CRM, using it for reminders to touch with specific prospects every so often.  You can include names, addresses, the company someone works for, phone numbers, and Sprout Social will often pull all the social networks that particular person has linked up.   In a single place, you can see all the information you’ve added about specific accounts, as well as previous conversations you’ve had on each channel that is synced with that user.  This gets useful as you start juggling hundreds of accounts and trying to remember what you said to who, and when.

The next tab is the feeds tab, which is my best friend for curating content as well as interacting with Twitter feeds. I have Feedly hooked up to Sprout Social, allowing me to see RSS feeds of relevant blogs and sites that I’ve collected together based on topic.  I will also often create collections specific to clients, so that each client has a steady source of curated content I can always draw from.  I check this daily for new or breaking content.

You can also view twitter feeds, letting you see what your stream is currently tweeting about and checking if you can respond.  Your LinkedIn profile can also be hooked up here, letting you view recent posts to LinkedIn, although you can’t reply.

There’s the publishing tab, which lets you see what you currently have queued up, as well as let you change the order of your content and change the viralpost settings.  Viralpost is one of my favorite tools ever – you set the frequency per day of how often you want content out, and Sprout Social takes care of the rest.  It balances when the highest number of your followers are not only online, but most likely to engage with your content, too, making it the flat out easiest way to schedule everything.  Just add content to the queue, and Sprout Social does the rest.  You can see all the scheduled content across all channels in one place, something I find extremely helpful as I can check that I’m following themes or order to the posts as needed.

The discovery tab is yet another great tool – search topics, keywords, and save smart searches in Twitter (prospecting, anyone?).  You can also see various groupings of followers: those who are following you, but you’re not following back, those who’ve mentioned you, those you’ve talked to recently.  You can also do cleanup, which is extremely helpful for myself and every single one of my clients.  Silent accounts, those who don’t follow you back, those who don’t post often.  Since I review new followers each day, I have a general idea of the new followers, and can see which accounts followed a client and then rapidly unfollowed them.  This can sometimes indicate that the brand isn’t attracting the followers that align with the brand message, but more often, it’s a sign of lazy twittering – following large numbers of accounts to get a courtesy follow back, then unfollowing most of the batch and repeating it with a new set of accounts.  I feel this is bad manners and shows lack of interest in the community you build, and will leave a note on the accounts doing this so they do not get a courtesy follow back when they inevitably add the client’s account again (unless it’s a vitally important or influential account, but frankly, that’s never happened).

Sprout Social

Finally, for my fellow social media managers or those who need something to show the boss – the reports tab.  This is your cheat sheet for impressing everyone you work for, along with the fancy PDFs you can generate with Socialbro.  You can print out multiple categories of reports as documentation of your efforts, either as an excel file or a PDF document.  If you’re just showing your boss your progress, PDFs look significantly nicer than the excel tables, but to keep track of data over the long haul, keeping track of data with excel is a must.

Sprout Social also recently overhauled their Twitter profiles reports, creating beautiful reports that give Socialbro a real run for the money for nice documents to show your clients or boss.  If your primary use with Socialbro is a single place to keep track of demographic data and make reports, you could probably scrap it in favor of utilizing Sprout Social’s reports instead.  They also integrate with Google Analytics, letting you compare your social media efforts against actual traffic on the website.  It gives just enough data to let your social media manager get an understanding of how their efforts are working, but if you’re concerned with them knowing too much or being too involved (or if they’re not that familiar with Google Analytics in the first place), it won’t flood them with too much data.  It tends to be too limited for me to do much in the way of analyzing performance (I like to dive deeper into the data to see what’s happening), but for a quick glance at how well things are working, it’s good enough.

I could talk for ages on Sprout Social – this was purely an overview of what it does, which should give you an excellent idea of just how much you stand to gain from it.  For my level of use, it’s $99 a month, which is the lowest tier that allows you to take advantage of Viralpost, keyword trend reporting, and google analytics integration.  For basic, it’s $59 a month, which covers most of your basic needs.  There is also a referral program for current users that they recently rolled out – so if you do opt to go with Sprout Social, check among your friends or colleagues to see if they are already users (or click one of my links!).  It doesn’t change anything in how you get Sprout Social, but it does give them a $50 credit toward their next bill – so pass along the good karma, if you can.

The next few posts will be moving back into a few of my favorite free tools, which have limited use compared to a powerful all-in-one dashboard like Sprout Social, but nonetheless can give you a better picture of your online marketing efforts.

Top Social Media Management Tools – An In Depth Guide

An In-Depth Guide to My Favorite Social Media Management Tools

This Week: Buffer, Pocket, and Feedly

I’ll be reviewing a few of my favorite social media management tools in depth for this next blog post series.  There’s a huge array of them out there, and sifting through them all to find the best one for your situation can be truly difficult.  I’ve tried many, and only a few have been good enough that I stick with them for the long haul.  The ones that have been useful enough to trim down hours off of my work day and make managing social media for myself and for clients easier are the ones I’ll be featuring here.

The first tool that I will recommend will be a combination of tool and content curation source.  I highly recommend http://reachkamloops.com/about/board-bios/ Buffer as a scheduling tool for the small business or social media manager with a small number of clients, and even more, I recommend it in combination with either can you buy propecia over the counter Pocket or watch Feedly. 

For pure scheduling ease, Buffer really makes it easy.  You set the general schedule, and start plopping your content into the queue and viola, you always have a ‘buffer’ of content ready to go.  The free option is extremely limited, and from the experience of friends and colleagues who have tried it, it can feel fairly worthless.  You’re limited to only 10 posts in your buffer per account, and you can only hook up 2 accounts.  If you’re trying to build a new habit around content curation, this makes it pretty hard to build up an extensive buffer that will keep you covered for more than a day or two.   Buffer is well worth the $10 a month to get the next level of options, which is up to 10 accounts, and 250 statuses queued.

the Best Social Media Management tools

the Best Social Media Management tools

While Buffer offers a selection of curated content that their editors have picked out (and it’s great to start if you want an easy source of good content), if you’re not in social media or marketing, it is typically quite limited in content relevant to your niche.  Towards that end, you can and should set up a Pocket account, as well as a Feedly account.

Pocket works extremely well as a way to collect interesting content from the blogs you subscribe to, or just see around the internet.  The way it works is it saves an easy to read copy of the content you save to pocket into the app, letting you read articles on your phone wherever you are (even without internet access), and acts as a platform for moving articles to buffer.  Whenever I see a headline that interests me, I save the article to Pocket, and review all my pocket articles every day or two.   If you’re managing on behalf of a client, a shared Pocket account can be an excellent way to review curated content before scheduling it – or allow them to contribute content they like and set up the habit of saving things to share again.  When they save to Pocket, you can also review what they are thinking is worth sharing, and ensure that what they want to share is in line with what you’ve agreed is the brand’s image. What is personally interesting is not always relevant to what the brand or business should share for fans.

Pocket syncs up easily with Buffer, and you can buffer articles via the mobile app straight from Pocket, creating a very easy process (even easier with the tool I’ll discuss next week, which is If This Then That) for curating content.  However, if you’re using other tools, such as Sprout Social, or you want to set up an easier RSS feed, Feedly is the tool that lets you do that.  RSS stands for Rich Site Summary, or as I’ve also seen it referred to, as a Really Simple Site.  Basically, it turns blog posts or updates into a simple article format you can read in one place, which you can then sort by topic.   Feedly syncs up with your other tools, allowing you to share straight to your queue from within Feedly.

Other similar options include Flipboard, which comes with most Android operating systems, and can be downloaded to your iOS device as well.  The downside to Flipboard is that it adds a step – you save the articles that seem interesting to Pocket, then schedule them to Buffer.  If you’re reading them within Flipboard, you could just schedule them straight to Buffer, but again, Flipboard will not sync with the higher level tools you might use.

The simple timeline for setting up your content curation loop is this:
RSS Reader > Buffer > Posted
RSS Reader > Pocket > Buffer > Posted

You will always want to put things into Buffer, as the schedule you set up can and should be based on your research into what works and when.  You can view your Facebook page’s insights to see when the most of your fans are online, and you should time your posts accordingly.  Through the use of other tools (which will be discussed in later posts), you can also find your best time to tweet, which in most tools, will sync automatically to Buffer.  Buffer tracks link clicks as well, which is why you want to ensure all posts are shared through Buffer.  When Buffer shortens the link, it tracks clicks on that link, letting you know how interesting your fans genuinely found content (and letting you know if your timing is working).

Keep in mind that you want to schedule each status for each platform, and you do NOT want to set up an automatic cascade of posts to other channels.  Buffer will shorten links but otherwise ensure a status is shared in the way that looks best on each channel; having a tweet autopost to Facebook, or vice versa, does not work as well and does not get the same engagement rates as a “native” post in the app.

Use Buffer in combination with Pocket (and/or Feedly) to get into the habit of always curating content.  Your next step is to begin utilizing automation to gather relevant content into Pocket or Buffer and make it even easier to find new and interesting content…and that’s with If This Then That, or IFTTT for short.  Next week I’ll review the tool and some easy to use “recipes” to get you started.

I will be developing these blog posts further to turn them into chapters for the book I’ll be working on.  If you have suggestions, questions, or advice, please feel free to comment below!

Using Twitter as a Prospecting Tool

Using Twitter as a Prospecting Tool 


This is where you apply your understanding of communicating on Twitter in a positive, contributing way to prospecting.  One of the first steps to using twitter as a prospecting tool is to find the relevant niches and conversations happening around your company, brand, or industry.  Use Twitter search to see if people are already talking about topics you’re interested in – especially when it comes to your specific industry.  Do you sell cars?  Coaching?  Apps? Manufacturing parts?  There may not be a conversation for EVERYTHING out there, but there are conversations around most topics that have a digital component.

To find these conversations you have to get creative with your search terms.  You’re looking for people who are talking about a problem you can solve and are loosely related to, NOT just the problem that they should hire you for.  If you’re a car dealership, look for people complaining about their car breaking down…and suggest a mechanic.  A good mechanic!  When their car does inevitably break down for the final time, it’s you they’ll think of as someone who won’t take advantage of them.  If you’re a business coach, share your favorite digital tools with people complaining about a problem they’re having with their website.  You’re building trust in your ability to help them.

Using Twitter as a Prospecting  Tool

Using Twitter as a Prospecting Tool

Note that I am not suggesting you talk about YOURSELF for any of these.  It’s the whole “contributing” thing – you are providing people with value for interacting with you.  You’re building a positive relationship that ISN’T about you.  If your business is so easily threatened by not talking about yourself for a minute, maybe you should reconsider your business model.

You can also check out the lists of influential people within the niches you’re interested in.  Check out Twitter chats to see lots of active people talking in one place.  It’s a great way to see who is the most generous about sharing links, mentions, and favorites, which is who you will want to actively seek out and engage with.  This is where being generous yourself pays off in the long run.  As time goes on and you are viewed in the same light, you’ll get people seeking you out to engage with you for the same reason you are seeking these people out.  It’s a great big happy share-fest. Tools such as Followerwonk, SocialBro, and similar audience-comparing aspects help you break down where and when your target niche is really talking.

In addition to chats (which I’ll go into in more depth in the next post), you can also check out the followers and lists of prospects and major influencers.  You can create your own lists, which will send a notification to the person you’re adding to that list.  Name the lists in a flattering but not overly brown nosing way.  Niche experts to follow, rising stars to watch, lists such as that are the kinds of lists everyone loves to be a part of.  If you don’t want to create a list, you can also use that tip from an earlier post in this series.  That’s right… Favorite away!  Go through twitter lists and favorite a tweet or two from each person on the list.

When you start to get serious about a prospect (or competitor!), you can also create a private Twitter list to allow you to monitor your key targets more closely.  Be careful not to get too creepy, and reply to each and every tweet they send. You want to monitor what your prospects are saying, what they’re posting about, and what they find interesting.  I love using the contact notes in SproutSocial to keep notes on things I notice outside of conversations, and the record keeping that SproutSocial allows in the form of saved conversations…That’s huge!

To sum it up – prospect in general by looking for related topics to what you do.  Contribute in a meaningful way (yes, it’s back to that again).  And then when you start seeing legitimate prospects…follow them more closely.  Add them to lists.  Engage.

And when you have a genuine conversation, move it to DM or off Twitter entirely.  Twitter is a great generalized prospecting tool.  It is not so great for having more in depth, or detailed conversations that are likely to lead to high value conversions.  You want to use Twitter as a springboard to a platform that will allow you to make that pitch or showcase your service and value in a way that’ll close the deal.  Many sellers include LinkedIn in their profile; placing your website in the bio is also a huge help.

Prospecting Tool

Once you’ve had a good conversation with a prospect, and you’re both following each other, don’t hesitate to send a friendly request to link up through LinkedIn.  LinkedIn is great for sales and professional contacts; if you are trying to work on prospects to make sales, I do not recommend linking your personal Facebook into this process.  Facebook has it’s place, but when you’re trying to build a B2B network or otherwise boost your professionalism, Facebook is just not the way to do that.  One of my first blog posts is about keeping a personal Facebook page suitable for business, but again, keeping it professional enough isn’t quite the same as the type of professional connections made through LinkedIn.

You may think that there isn’t a niche for your industry, product, or service on Twitter, but you’d be surprised.  Travelers, entrepreneurs, wedding planners, startups, bicycling, car enthusiasts, and more are all there on Twitter.  Search and search often, and you may make that connection that leads to a sale.

One way to find niches is to search for Twitter chats…which will be the subject of the next blog post!

The Facebook Algorithm Update – What You Should Really Be Worried About

The New Facebook Algorithm 

What you should actually be worrying about: 


Worried about the new Facebook algorithm?

Don’t be! Well, don’t be if you have been creating quality content and actively engaging with your community in a meaningful way.  If you’ve been sharing your blog posts, using new and interesting images with your posts, and you are rarely, if ever, overly self-promotional, you should be just fine.  Sure, you’ll see a dip in engagement, but you can counter that through genuine engagement with other pages and making a point of talking to your fans as they comment on your pages.

[Tweet “Swear that you’re doing these things, and you have glorious, amazing content, but your thousand+ fans don’t see, or like, or comment on your page?”]

[bctt tweet=”I think you’re lying to yourself.”]

Open up your browser in incognito.  This will wipe any of your cookies, saved preferences, or anything that makes the internet more tailored to you away from that browser window, enabling you to see it as the public might see it.


Facebook Algorithm


Bring up your facebook page without logging in.  Check the URL – is it a custom URL yet?  If not, there’s one of your first problems with your social media.  You look like an amateur or clueless if you have not set your URL to match your brand.  Try to keep it short (you want people to easily type it in and find you), but set your URL ASAP.

Now look at the page with a critical eye.  Does the timeline image up top look good?  As in, is it a crisp, high resolution image that looks like it fits up top?  How about your profile image?  Is it a professional headshot, or your logo?  Is any part of the image cropped out, or missing, or covered by an element of the Facebook page?  If yes to any of that, then slap yourself on the wrist and get to fixing it.  I highly recommend using Canva.com as a way to easily create images that look good and fit properly within your Facebook page’s constraints.

Now, look at your posts.  What’s the very top one about?  If it’s about your company, can you read the entire first sentence without it being cut off?  Is there an image?  If no to either question, that’s not a quality post – not these days, anyway.  It needs to be quick and easy to read, and the value of the post needs to be readily apparent.


“What do you mean, value of my post?  What value?”  If anything at all like that went through your mind, you need to take a serious step back and reconsider your posting strategy.  Social media works best with a lot of giving, especially to the greater good of the community you hope to have.  You will only see a return on your social media time investment if you are actively seeking to contribute something to the community of people that should be around your brand.  Take a moment to look at your posts, and ask yourself if you were not a part of your company, would you want to see this in your feed?

What’s the post below your top post about?  If it’s about your company again, it’s likely that you are self-promoting too much.  If you are just reposting videos, lists, or selfies, let’s face it, your fans don’t care.  Remember, the key to quality content (what will get your posts seen with this Facebook algorithm change) is to contribute something to the big wide internet that actually matters to the people who see it.

If more than one or two of the posts under your top posts are also blatantly self promotional, your decreasing engagement rates and low number of likes and comments are likely due to your poor content, not  changes to the Facebook algorithm.

Facebook Algorithm

Exceptions to self-promotion are when you, the person, are the focus of the page – someone like Guy Kawasaki, Richard Branson, or another celebrity can and should do plenty of self-posts.  Those pages are followed specifically because people want to see what those people are posting about themselves.  When it comes to a brand or business, however, no one cares that much about what your brand is putting out there unless it benefits them.  This is the general public we’re talking about.  No one has to like you, care about you, or click on your content.  How do you get seen on Facebook, then, if the organic reach of posts is declining so significantly?

  “Stop being so self absorbed.  Join a community (or several).  And write better content. ” 

Tweet: Stop being so self absorbed.  Join a community (or several).  And write better content.

Tweet this!

Link to yourself regularly, by all means.  But hide it a bit, post it with varying headlines and different images, and leave off “my blog”, “my article”, “me me me me” for most of the posts.  If it’s a good article or blog post, people will read it, and be happy to see it was written by you.

So don’t be so afraid of the Facebook algorithm change.  Be more concerned about the quality of your own posts.


5 Easy Tips to Create a Great Instagram Post

tyrannosaurus marketing

5 Easy Tips for Awesome Instagram Posts