Recommended Social Media Management Tools from a Seasoned Social Media Manager

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Nearly half of small businesses are spending about six hours a week on social media. That’s almost a whole day of business! Social media management tools can help to make you more productive and effective during the time spent on social media.

Below is a comprehensive list of the tools I have worked with or am currently using to schedule content for myself and my clients. Many are accessible on mobile, and some are accessible on both mobile and desktop. Take it from a pro – it’s always nice to have your social media management tools right on your phone for easy access on the go!

Top Social Media Management Tools to Make Your Content Creation Tasks Easier

Social Media Management Platforms

Deciding on a social media management platform is like picking what type of ice cream you want at the local creamery. They’re all generally the same (frozen milk and sugar), but with slightly different ingredients based on your preferences.

Deciding on a #socialmedia management platform is like picking what type of ice cream 🍨 you want at the local creamery. It's hard! Click To Tweet

Hootsuite – With the free option of Hootsuite you can connect three social media accounts and schedule up to 30 messages. If you’re scheduling posts once a week or more frequently the free one may be enough, otherwise they have a paid plan that can handle more.

HubSpot – HubSpot is excellent for larger companies looking for a full-blown CRM (customer relationship management) system. You can do social listening, schedule content, and analyze your efforts based on campaigns within the platform.

Planoly– I recently started to use this, and I’m so glad I did! The drag and drop feature and grid view make it incredibly simple to plan your Instagram content. It even lets you know how many hashtags you have space left for with the Instagram mandated maximum of 30.

Buffer – If you’re a fan of drag and drop, this is the social media manager for you. At the time of this blog post, it’s one of the few platforms that offer drag and drop to reschedule content.

CoSchedule – Businesses with an active blog will like CoSchedule. It integrates with WordPress, and you can see social messages and blog posts in a single calendar for easier planning. Scheduling additional social messages for each blog is convenient too with your related images readily available.

Image Creators/Editors

Whether you’re creating the perfect Instagram post, the featured image for your next blog post, or thumbnail for your upcoming viral video, you’ll likely want a tool – especially if you’re going to add any text.

Canva – I wrote in-depth about Canva and how to use it in 2016. It’s one of my top two tools I recommend to clients if they want to DIY their social media and blog/website images.
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izkiz Cam – This is my favorite Instagram image editor. Created by a popular Instagrammer with nearly 3 million followers, this app is $1.99. I highly recommend it if you’re looking for something to make your photos brighter and more vibrant.

Analysis/Maintenance Tools

A big part of your social media marketing strategy should include analyzing your content to identify what works and what doesn’t. Accurately measuring your results from social will help you to generate top-performing posts as you move forward. Don’t guesstimate like this guy.

Most social media management platforms and social networks include analysis features within them, but if you’re looking for something more check out this list.

Google Analytics – Get an overall look at which social media platforms are performing best in bringing visitors back to your website with Google Analytics. You’ll also be able to see which formats are resonating the most with each social networks’ users.

InsTrack – Many Instagram users’ “strategy” to get followers is to follow and then unfollow as soon as the other account reciprocates. How this is still happening is beyond me! It’s incredibly disingenuine and a waste of time. To whittle these people out of your account, you can download InsTrack or a similar app to your smartphone that identifies who has unfollowed you.

ManageFlitter – The same follow and unfollow tactic from Instagram happens on Twitter too. Clean up who you’re following with ManageFlitter.

Hashtagify – Track hashtag popularity and find new ones using hashtagify.me.

Google Sheets – Google Sheets can’t do any analysis for you (unless you’re kind of an Excel wizard), but it’s a convenient way to track your social media engagement and to plan future content.

Employee Advocacy Platforms

Enterprise companies looking to grow their brand’s reach online can mobilize their employees to share content. As Forbes reported, “brand messages shared by employees on social media earn 561 percent more reach than the same messages shared by the brand’s social media channels.”

Executing an effective employee advocacy program necessitates a software that is simple to use for employees. The process of sharing your content needs to be as easy as possible. These are two of the tools I’ve used in the past – both as a user and in managing the platform.

GaggleAMP – In addition to engaging your employees in sharing, GaggleAMP makes it easy to include your other brand advocates (possibly your customers) in sharing useful content.
Everyone Social – The user has the option to create their own streams of content in Everyone Social. Similar to the feeds your business creates on company news, or other industry related content that your buyers will find helpful, they can add publications or hashtags that populate relevant content.

Not sure which tools you should be using to help with #socialmedia #marketing? Check out this list! Click To Tweet

Where to Find OPC

Your social media plan should include a mix of (OPC) other peoples content and your own. Many social media managers, myself included, recommend an 80 to 20 ratio. 80 percent being OPC and 20 percent being content from your website or other online channels. Here’s a list of the places you can look to find relevant content to share with your audience:

  1. BuzzSumo
  2. Google Advanced Search
  3. Anders Pink
  4. Feedly
  5. Relevant, Non-competing Industry Magazines and Blogs

Understand that these are just the tools that I use. There may be better options out there; new apps are coming out all the time. Agorapulse and Edgar, for example, are two commonly recommended paid tools I hear from my peers.

So what’s your flavor? Are there any tools I missed that you recommend to others? Are you going to try any of these out?  Let me know in the comments below.

 

Reach out to me for a free 20-minute exploration call if you’re still struggling to get a grasp on managing your social media. I offer management services and training to help you grow brand visibility using social media.

How to Write Engaging Content that Makes Your Brand Unforgettable

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Whenever you sit down to start writing a blog post, what’s the first thought that comes to your mind? Hopefully, it’s not, ugh, I have to write another blog post (but if it is, get in touch with me – my writing services may be just what you need). In the sea of content that’s available on the web today, a top objective should be to write engaging content that is unforgettable.

How to Write Engaging Content

Today’s readers are inundated by online content. Brands must be creating memorable material that helps the brand to not only stand out but also to connect with your reader and make them want to return to your website.

Publishing unforgettable #content leads to a memorable brand. Click To Tweet

Here are five aspects of a memorable blog post to help your brand connect with prospects, i.e., your readers. Include a mix of these in your content.

  1. Tell a story.
  2. Teach the reader something new.
  3. Present a thought-provoking idea.
  4. Agree with the reader.
  5. Make them laugh.
What should you include in your #content to make it memorable? Find out in this blog post by @meaghanmae. #branding Click To Tweet

Tell a Story

As Maya Angelou said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” If you can make the reader feel an emotion, you’re golden. They may not remember each of the five statistics you included, but they’ll remember the story and the emotions they felt.

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou

Incorporating storytelling into your content will have the most impact.

In the book The Storytelling Edge, the content strategy masterminds behind Contently.com point out, “When we hear a story, the neural activity increases fivefold.” It’s easier to remember data points when they’re tied to a narrative, so try to weave a personal experience or fictional tale into your content.

Teach

Educate your reader. If your business has employees, involve them in creating content. If they’re not interested in writing or recording a video, you can always interview them and share their expertise that way.

Position your brand as a knowledgeable resource by sharing helpful, expert level advice around your target customers’ pain points. You might even earn your website a few bookmarks from readers.

Shock

A quick way to be memorable is to do something crazy! Think about all of the viral videos you see. You remember and maybe even share them because they’re out of the norm. Apply this same principle to your content and present a new way of thinking for your reader to consider.

Agree

Share something that gets the reader nodding in agreement. Everything that you share doesn’t have to be earth-shattering. Agreeing with your reader allows them to relate to you and your personal brand. It builds a sense of connection. You want them to think, “This is my kind of person!”

Make Them Laugh

Comedian Mike Albanese says, “Funny content is more likely to be recalled than content that has no humor, and that is the point of most marketing and content!” 

Write engaging content by infusing humor into your writing – if you’re funny! Comedy is not something that you can force, and readers will be able to tell if you’re faking it.

If your content is usually pretty dry, try self-deprecating humor. It allows people to relate to you and see a human side that they may not recognize in clear-cut content.

Amplifying Your Engaging Content

Creating your unforgettable content isn’t the end of the line. It needs to be shareable too. Your amplification strategy should include paid advertising, especially if you’re not a well-known company that people are searching out for information.

What do you include in your content to help build your brand and add a sense of community? Let me know in the comments below.

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If you’re sharing your content on a Facebook Page, are you getting the number of views that you want? If not, download my free eBook to ensure you’re doing everything you can to get more organic engagement.

 

Video and the Future of Content Marketing

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What can you expect for the future of content marketing? It has certainly evolved in format since it first started with John Deere’s magazine The Furrow in 1895, but the purpose is still the same – build trust with your consumers.

In addition to one-page leaflets, we now have branded magazines, blogs, podcasts, social media posts, and videos too.

People watch 85 percent of Facebook videos without sound. They’re still interested in reading (and value their silent time), but visuals are a nice addition. The two complement each other quite well.

Imagine watching an hour-long video on how to create a successful content strategy – no thanks! Wouldn’t you rather have a 10,000-word blog or eBook you can quickly come back to and reference? I would take notes the entire time if I watched a video or listened to a podcast that long. Give me the blog, please!

Video Will Bolster The Future of Content Marketing

As a proponent for the written word, I truly believe that video will not eliminate written communications. According to new research from Clutch, “33 percent of B2B audiences read blogs or articles about business-related topics.” People are sharing blogs with others because they think it will be useful and it’s helping to generate leads.

#Video won't eliminate written #content, but there is value in using video to reach more people. Click To Tweet

B2B marketers using blogs get 67percent more leads than those that don’t. Social Media Examiner even reported that more than half of marketers believe that “original written content” is the most important type over images, videos, and infographics. However, I know the value of using video to reach people. Look at the facts, and you’ll agree.

Types of Video to Use in Your Content Marketing Strategy

Now that you understand why you need to create videos for your brand, let’s take a look at how to get started. The first question you likely have is what you should create videos about? Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  1. Create explanatory videos about your product or service.
  2. Answer FAQs. Almost half of businesses surveyed by HubSpot claim that video helps them lower the number of support queries they receive.
  3. Short teaser clips within your article of a few of the main points can encourage the viewer to read more. 80 percent of marketers say video increases the amount of time a viewer stays on their website.
    #Video increases the amount of time a viewer stays on your website. #marketing Click To Tweet
  4. Repurpose your current content. Identify content (blogs, eBooks, white papers) that have performed well in the past and add more mileage to the idea you’ve already developed with a video. It will also help with SEO (search engine optimization) of that topic on your website.
  5. Share “behind the scenes.” Give your prospects and customers a taste of what life is like in your business. Share clips from around the office that show the company culture, host interviews with employees or customers, explain how to make the product, or crowdsource questions to answer on a video.

Tips and Best Practices for Video Marketing

Recording and sharing video doesn’t have to be difficult. All you need is your smartphone and an idea. Remember these tips and best practices as you develop your video strategy.

  1. Short, two-minute-long videos get the most engagement (This does NOT apply to live video, see number two).
  2. Go live. At Social Media Day Jacksonville 2018, live video expert Luria Petrucci said to aim for a minimum of 20 minutes when using live video to get the most engagement.
    To get the most engagement from your #livevideo, @luriapetrucci says to aim for a minimum of 20 minutes. #contentmarketing #videotip Click To Tweet
  3. Create a series. In her book, Vlog Like a Boss: How to Kill It Online with Video Blogging, Amy Landino suggests creating a video series. It gives you an idea for the next video to make and builds a sense of anticipation among your audience.
  4. Share on Instagram or Facebook Stories.
  5. Upload videos directly to Facebook, don’t share YouTube links. Native videos get a ten times higher reach.
  6. Engage with viewers. 

Are you among the 81 percent of businesses that use video in your marketing? If not, it’s time to get started. Grab your smartphone, develop a strategy or outline for your first branded video, and hit record!

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Top 3 Marketing Tips for Yoga Teachers

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Are you struggling to fill your classes to capacity? One of the biggest marketing mistakes yoga instructors make is not sharing their classes, events, and workshops enough. If your students don’t know you’re teaching, then you can’t expect them to show up.

“You cannot serve people if they don’t know you exist.”
~ Lenka Stefanakova

It can feel weird promoting yourself, but someone has to do it. If you get queasy at the thought of self-promotion consider what Sage Rountree said in this blog post for Yoga Journal, “understand that you are not promoting yourself, you are promoting your work, and your work is bringing yoga’s benefits to your students.”

Being a yoga teacher is a job, and you should be thinking of it as a business. Companies advertise their products and services, and you should be doing the same. Here are my top three marketing tips for independent yoga teachers to put into action this year.

Use More Visuals

Visual content including images, videos, infographics, etc. are a few of the best mediums to communicate with your students. Images and infographics can be easily created using Canva. Here’s an example of one I created.

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If you’re a little leery of creating videos, it’s time to take a deep breath and hit that Live button. Animoto reported that “four times as many consumers would rather watch a video about a product than read about it.” Local St. Augustine yoga teacher Rachel Layne posted this video to Instagram last week promoting her Vinyasa Flow class.

After sharing your visual content via social media or your blog don’t forget to include it in an email. Simply including the word “video” in the subject line of an email can increase your open rates by 19%! That’s huge when the average open rate in the fitness industry is only about 22% according to MailChimp.

And don’t forget about flyers. As much as we all love our digital toys, people are still walking around in the real world. A few places you can post your flyers at include the grocery store, local restaurants, the post office, or health food stores. Don’t forget an eye-catching yoga image that reflects your classes.

Guest Writing

Consider pitching an idea to a local newspaper. If your yoga classes are more on the gentle side and geared towards seniors, you’ll have a better chance of reaching them through a print article than something posted online. Another perk is that the newspaper likely has an online version too.

Local businesses that have a blog could also be open to guest postings. Bonus points if you can find someone in the same industry that attracts your type of client, but isn’t a competitor. For yoga teachers, this could be a health food store or metaphysical shop. Contributing an article will build your credibility as an expert in the field and introduce you to a new audience.

Build Relationships

Connect with other teachers and attend their classes. Share a photo on social media of you and the teacher after class; you can even include a quick blurb on how you enjoyed the practice. They’ll appreciate the shout out and likely reciprocate the action in the future. Same goes for sharing other teachers’ events.

Being out there on the mat in the student role can help you build a connection with the community of students too. Practicing beside them allows them to feel your energy and gives you the opportunity to build a relationship. The conversation will likely lead to you revealing that you’re a teacher (if they didn’t already know) and when your class is held.

Post your schedule to your website, share it on social media regularly – not just once a month, and talk about it whenever you have a chance. Remember to remind your students at the beginning or end of class about your upcoming workshops or classes. If you teach more than one class a week at that studio, make sure to mention your other class(es).

Do you have any other marketing advice you’d like to share with our community of yoga teachers? If so, post it in the comments section.

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How to Find Powerful Hashtags for Social Media

Over the last few weeks, I’ve had two yoga teachers ask me about how to use hashtags on social media. Technology is often not high on the priority list for many yogis, and I’m gathering that very few in our industry know how to attract new students or customers by properly utilizing hashtags.

If you grew up with social media this may not apply to you, but you still may learn a new way to find powerful hashtags that can help to get your brand noticed. Skip down to the section on Finding Hashtags if you already know how to use them.

Finding Powerful Hashtags

Hashtag Basics (or #basics)

Hashtags help you to get noticed. If you click on a hashtag on Twitter, it jumps you to a stream of every tweet with that hashtag. Same goes for Instagram and Facebook. Someone that is interested in yoga is likely to scroll through photos/posts with #yoga. If you’re using #yoga too, they’ll see your image.

Try to use only two per tweet, maybe three max. You should be using them in EVERY tweet you post.

On Instagram put your hashtags in a comment below your caption. You can use up to 30 on Instagram.

For Facebook, a lot of people don’t use them. I’ve even had some people ask me why I was using them there and almost get defensive like I wasn’t following the “Facebook rules.” But, these were individuals who don’t work on digital so, poo on them! If you do use some in your Facebook posts, three is a good number. Test it out and see how your audience takes to it.

LinkedIn is another place where many users aren’t used to seeing hashtags, but you should still be adding them to your posts. The hashtags on LinkedIn help to categorize posts and allow new readers to find your content.

Finding Hashtags

You’ll need to find hashtags that are relevant to what you’re sharing. So if your post is about writing a book use tags like #amwriting #fridayreads #amreading, etc. You can find new ones to use by looking through the streams of others using these hashtags. Click a photo in the hashtag stream you’re viewing and see what other tags that user listed.

If you are targeting a geographical area, use relevant hashtags to your region, i.e. #StAugustine #JaxBeach #Jax. Again, if you look at other people’s posts, you can find new hashtags to use on yours.

Here’s a trick to finding new hashtags on Instagram:
Go to the search section on Instagram and click the Tags tab.
Type in the hashtag you want to find more about (using yoga in my example). You can see from this screenshot a list of other relevant hashtags.
>hashtag_research_instagram

Click one of the tags and then read the Related hashtags at the top of the page, you can scroll to the right for more. This can be a rabbit hole and lead you to find tons of new relevant tags.
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