I LOVE Twitter lists. They are an amazing listening tool, helping to bring order and clarify to the chaos that is the Twittersphere.
You can use them to easily simplify who you are following at any given moment on Twitter. While I follow many accounts, there are times where I ONLY want to know what a few of them are saying. So I have a Twitter list just for them.
I love them so much, the second episode of my podcast, #StepUpYourSocial, was about how, when and why to use them. (You can listen to that episode at stepupyoursocial.com or wherever you stream podcasts).
Whenever I run trainings on Twitter, I always highly recommend that people utilize this amazing tool.
I even include it on my list of free tools you should be using but probably aren’t and recommend that even if your brand isn’t on Twitter, you have an account you can use to build lists and monitor your competitors, customers, influencers, etc. just as a way to keep tabs on your field.
So yeah, I’m a fan.
There are two types of lists: public and private.
Public lists can be followed by anybody and they are visible through your profile. And whenever you add someone to such a list, they get a notification. They are public.
Private lists on the other hand exist only for you. No one will ever know that such a list exists. No one can follow it or even find it unless they are logged in as you. And of course no one knows when you add them to it. They are private.
But here’s the thing — nothing online is ever actually private.
When I build private lists for political campaigns, I also give them overly-guarded innocuous names like “interesting” or “other campaigns.” I would never call them “competition,” “the enemy,” or, as we’ll soon see, “haters.”
Likewise, when I work with businesses or nonprofits on developing their own listening tools or prepping them for crisis management, I always push them to do the same. Don’t call the trolls “trolls.” Call them “interesting accounts,” or “people to follow.”
Why? you might ask. These are private lists. No one will ever know that they exist.
Well, that’s true. Right up until it’s not.
I was (and am) always afraid of hacking. I have run very large Twitter accounts and you never know what’s going to happen. If heaven forbid someone hacked into one of those accounts, it would be awful. Because they could post whatever they wanted.
But there would be nothing incriminating or embarrassing in those accounts for them to find. Because our campaign doesn’t have “enemies” or “haters.” It has “accounts to follow” or “notables.” It would have to be a pretty quiet news day for that story to get written.
Well as it turns out, my caution was extremely valid. Because Vice just reported on a bug that led to people being notified when they were added to... private lists. 😳 😳 😳
The bug was first noticed when a Vice reporter was added to a PRIVATE list called… you guessed it… “haters.”
Who’s fault was this? Twitter’s of course!
Who’s problem is it though (should it happen to you)? Yeah, YOU know.
I always advise that you never put anything in writing you aren’t prepared to see in the paper. But that advice definitely goes beyond writing.
Being in a sketchy Facebook Group — even if it’s a secret Group — can still come out. Having a secondary account you use online to talk about how hot or awesome you are… is stupid. And risky!
And labeling Twitter lists, even private ones, with any name that would embarrass you were it to come out — is just a bad idea.
Be smart out there y’all! The internet is our permanent record.
Full Episode Transcript, Along With Links to All Mentioned Free digital tools:
Facebook loves video and really wants you to share videos to the platform. When you do so, they reward you with views. But here’s a scary statistic: around 85% of Facebook video is watched… without sound. So what are you to do? Hone in on your acting skills? Stockpile posters and write out the accompanying text? I won’t tell you NOT to do either of those. But there’s a far simpler option available to you built right into Facebook.
Once you've added your video to Facebook, but before you've posted it, you’ll see a menu on the right side of your post. (This only works on your computer, not on mobile.) You’ll see an option to replace your thumbnail. You can either select another moment from the video or upload something you created. In other word, good news: you'll never again have to start off you video with an awkward open-mouth shot. Then below that, you’ll have the option to add subtitles and captions. Select that, pick your language, and Facebook will auto-create subtitles for your video. Assuming your video isn’t too long, it should only take a few moments for them to do so. Once they've been created, you can go through and edit them to make sure they are perfect. Then you can add them to your video and voila, instead of speaking to the 15% of your audience who DO listen with the sound on, now you can now speak to all 100% of them.
It’s worth mentioning this also works with live videos. But only after the fact. Once your video has been posted to your page, click the top right icon to edit it and you’ll get the same option to customize your thumbnail and to create subtitles.
So that’s one free digital tool you should DEFINITELY be using, but probably aren’t.
In this episode, I’m going to run through a bunch more. Let’s dig in.
Let me clarify that, per the title of the episode, every tool I am mentioning today is free. But it’s worth noting that many of them have premium versions you can pay for. But not one of these awesome digital tools requires a credit card to start using.
So let’s get into some more free tools you should be using.
In previous episodes of Step Up Your Social, we’ve covered Google Alerts, Facebook Pages to Watch (both in episode 10) and Twitter lists (in episode 2). Those are three killer, free listening tools. Let’s add one more to the list.
Feedly. Feedly is an RSS tool. (RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication.) Instead of having to jump all over the internet, looking at countless news sources and blogs, you can create a free Feedly account and then subscribe to as many publications as you want. You can bundle your publishers by category and then, whenever you are looking to catch up with the news — or importantly, wherever you know you need to share something on social but are not sure what — you can head to Feedly and see all the content that every publication or blog you follow has posted. You can even break down content by category, so you can just see what’s going on in the world of Facebook, or email marketing, or minor league baseball or whatever. Instead of searching the internet for relevant news, use Feedly to create a pipeline to bring all that relevant news directly to you.
Next up, let’s look at two powerful apps owned by Instagram.
There are no shortage of free photo and video apps or tools in the app store. But these two are owned by Instagram, so you know they must be good.
The first is called Layout, and it lets you take multiple pictures and lay them out as you want. You can easily drag and drop to switch pics or to change the size of one image or another. It's very easy to use.
The second is called Hyperlapse. I really love this one. It’s just a simple camera app, but it lets you create videos that can be sped up as desired. You have to take the video in the app for it to work, but once you’re done filming, you can speed up the video from 2x up to 12x speed. So let’s say you stick your phone in a tripod and film you and your team setting up for an event. You can take that footage, speed it up by a factor of 12 and suddenly your 15 minute set-up can be viewed in under a minute. Very powerful storytelling tool for the right situation! Quick caveat: for obvious reasons, it will record video without sound. If you want, you can add sound in after the fact. But the app will not capture any audio accompanying your video.
I don’t refer to many digital tools as magic, but this next one really kinda is. It’s called Remove.bg (as in remove background). And that’s exactly what it does. Caveat: it only works for people, not things.
You can use this tool on your computer or phone by visiting Remove.bg. Upload a photo and then tell it to remove background. It will take about 4 seconds and then, just like that, you'll have the person (or people) in your photo captured against a transparent background. In my experience, they aren’t 100% accurate. They’re only about… 97% or so. Not bad for a free tool and four seconds! You can then erase anything they missed or add back anything you want to keep.
Then you can export that file and upload it somewhere else to edit it, or just add a background to it right through their site. You can upload your own background files, or select from their photo library.
Anyone with any Photoshop experience can do this same thing. But not as quickly as remove.bg. And probably not for free!
Speaking of graphic design, there are a million free tools out there that will help you design better graphics, add logos to your pictures and do plenty of other basic graphic design work without having to invest years into learning Photoshop. But Canva was the originator of the field and they are still the go to for all my “graphic designs for dummies” needs.
They're free to use, but they do offer a premium version that adds perks like letting you store your brand’s colors and create more advanced file storage systems. You should also know that despite having an endless amount of pictures, icons and pre-made templates to pull from, a bunch are free but many are not. So be aware that you aren’t building something you love using a paid pic or icon, unless you are prepared to pull out your credit card. That said, most assets can be bought for just $1, so you don’t have to worry about breaking your budget.
Another great thing about Canva is that it's all web based. So you can login on your computer, start a design. Then head to your Canva app and keep working on the go.
It’s also worth noting that Canva.org offers free premium options for nonprofits.
And since we’re talking about stock photos, my go to stock photo source these days is Unsplash. You can search the site by keyword, find beautiful, high quality photos that you can then use for free. They request, but don’t require, giving credit to the photographer.
I will add that I’m not a lawyer and there are some fine print things that might affect you and your brand. If you have a lawyer, ask them to vet the language per your needs. If you don’t, head to Google and get lots of different takes on what you can and what you can’t do with “free” stock images.
I’m going to close my list with two quick writing assistance tools. The first is Grammarly, a free extension you can add to your browser (and your phone as well, though I’ve stuck with just using it on my computer). It’s essentially spellcheck for everything you do online. It won’t make you a better writer per se, but it will help ensure you don’t embarrass yourself with typos, missing commas or by using the wrong your.
The second one is called Hemingway App. This one may actually make you a better writer.
Copy and paste your text into Hemingway App and it will flag sentences that are hard to read, words that you can simplify, overuse of the passive voice and anything else keeping you from writing more like Ernest Hemingway.
So that’s my list. I’d love to hear any tools that you use that I didn’t include. Share them in the comments, hit me up on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn at Reverbal Communications or tweet at me using the hashtag #StepUpYourSocial.
As always, if this was helpful to you, I’d really appreciate a review wherever you stream podcasts. It will only take you a moment and will go a long way towards helping us reach a larger audience.
Step Up Your Social Ep. 14 — 7 Times The Airlines Blew It On Social Media (And What We Can Learn From Their Mistakes)
The transcript, along with links and screenshots:
Last week, a “YouTube Star” named Drew Gooden tweeted “Excuse me @Delta but this is outrageous. I just got sucked through the toilet hole in one of your aircrafts and am now hurtling through the sky, can I get my money back? This never happens on Southwest.”
Obviously this is a ridiculous tweet, intended for comedic purposes. But the person handling customer service for Delta that day, who was clearly in dire need of a few pots of coffee, apparently didn’t read beyond the first line before responding “Hello Drew, I am sorry to learn of this, can you provide more detail to what occurred. HBB.”
Drew promptly responded “got sucked through toilet hole.”
Let’s take a step back and think about how this happened.
Now what the airlines lack in legroom, they more than make up for in social media budgets. Who amongst hasn’t used social media to reach out to an airline to complain about something, only to be met with a pseudo-personalized response — replete with an employee’s first name or initials — only to be informed they can’t actually help us with our problem but that they hope we have a nice flight (even though we’re writing to ask why our flight has been delayed 18 hours, with no end in sight!).
But still, they are paying people to monitor their channels, and provide quick responses to any and every query sent their way, including paying HBB to respond to Drew when he complains about being sucked out of one of their toilet holes.
What’s the lesson from this ridiculous exchange: social listening is good. But only, if you are actually hearing what your audience is saying.
Now this podcast exists to share quick, actionable tips to help you step up your social. In this episode, we’re going to look at 6 more times the airlines blew it on social media, and talk about what we can learn from their collective mistakes. Let’s let their fails become our best practices.
So without further ado:
Social Fail Number 2: The lesson here is the same as in the previous example, but it’s too good not to also share.
When American Airlines merged with US Airways, they created the world’s largest airline. Twitter user Mark Murphy tweeted his congrats. And this new mega-airline was quick to reply, thanking him for his support.
The problem: Mark’s congratulatory tweet actually read: “Congrats to @americanair and @usairways on creating the largest, shittiest airline in the world.”
So yeah, the airline was listening, but they weren’t actually hearing.
Social Fail Number 3: During the 2014 World Cup, the US was playing Ghana. When the US men’s team scored their second (game-winning) goal, Delta was excited to share the news with its fans. Smart. Delta serves an international audience of people who like to travel. Why wouldn’t they want to show their audience that they are in on the fun?
To represent the US, they used an image of the Statue of Liberty. To represent Ghana, they used an image of a giraffe. The problem? There are no giraffes in Ghana.
What can we learn from this mistake? Don’t make assumptions. Five minutes on Wikipedia could have prevented years of embarrassment for a brand that was trying to show they were with it, and instead showed how little they understood the world they were trying to connect.
Social Fail Number 4: This one isn’t actually from an airline. It’s from an airport. But it still made our list.
In 2013, Luton Airport in London posted a photo of a recent incident from Chicago in which a plane had skidded of a runway, promising that “Because we are such a super airport… this is what we prevent you from when it snows… Weeeee :)”
Let’s start with the fact that this is just bad writing. But convulsion aside, the real problem with this post is that they were using a plane crash as a punchline, despite the fact that a six year old boy had died in the incident.
Even if your brand’s voice is bold and irreverent, know when it’s appropriate to make jokes about incidents involving dead kids? Umm, let’s go with never. Sound good?
For Social Fail Number 5: let’s start with the lesson and then move backwards. Contests and hashtags can be great ways to drum up User Generated Content and to encourage your audience to sing your praises to their communities. But they aren’t magic, and if you are struggling with a PR crisis, they can often create more harm than good.
This is a lesson that Qantas Airways learned the hard way.
Qantas wanted to drum up some online excitement for their brand, so they decided to give away a first class gift package by having people tell them about their “dream luxury inflight experience” using the hashtag #QantasLuxury.
The responses came streaming in. But they weren’t what Qantas had in mind.
Here are just a few examples:
This is not the story that Qantas wanted their audience to share with their networks. But even an intern should have foreseen that you can’t use a hashtag to solve a PR problem. A hashtag is offering the floor to your community. And if you think their stories MIGHT be more problematic than positive, maybe find another outreach approach.
Social Fail Number 6 was a famous one — United Airlines overbooked a flight and instead of raising the incentives until someone volunteered to leave the plane, they opted instead to violently drag a man — a doctor in fact — off of their plane. Someone shot a video of the brutal altercation and of course it went viral.
So I guess the lesson here is don’t be a jerk to your customers. But actually, I’m including this one on the list for a different reason.
As bad as the video was — and it was BAD — their real social media fail came from their response.
Bad things happen. An overzealous security guard or a stressed out flight attendant made a mistake and let their emotions get the better of them. Give it time and enough volume, it’s going to happen.
But when you inevitably make your apology, you better make it good. Needless to say, United blew that as well, or this issue wouldn’t have made today’s list.
A United exec put out a statement that essentially blamed the passenger, even though it was United who oversold the flight in the first place.
Additional apologies followed but it’s safe to say that this issue will stick with their brand for some time to come.
The lesson: if you are going to issue an apology, make it right the first time!
Which brings us to Social Fail Number 7, the final mistake on our list. This one is a doozy, and it’s — to put it mildly — NSFW (Not Suitable For Work).
In April, 2014, a Twitter user, Elle, tweeted her frustration with US Airways regarding an issue with her flight.
Five hours later, US Airways responded to let her know they were sorry.
Elle didn’t accept their apology. “Yeah, you seem so very sorry. So sorry, in fact, that you couldn’t be bothered to address my other tweets.”
US Airways responded with the following: “We welcome feedback, Elle. If your travel is complete, you can detail it here for review and follow-up.”
Accompanying this tweet was almost definitely the most explicit, shocking and inappropriate image every tweeted out by a Fortune 500 company, if not by any company ever!
It’s so NSFW I won’t even describe it here, other than to say it involved a toy airplane.
The tweet was deleted within an hour, but it is still very much lives on via screenshots all over the internet (even though I kinda wish it didn’t).
So here’s the lesson: don’t put anything on the internet, whether in a DM, a secret Facebook group or certainly not in response to a customer, if you aren’t prepared to see it quoted or screenshot across the internet.
Also, trust the people you have helping you manage your social accounts. Like, really.
Special thanks to Tre Temperilli for providing research assistance for this episode.
If you are enjoying this podcast, please consider leaving it a review wherever you stream podcasts. It will only take you a moment and can go a long way towards helping grow our audience.
Thank you and be smart out there.
There are three primary reasons you should be blogging to grow your brand:
1) It's great for your SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
2) It positions you as an expert in your field
3) It creates endless bridges between your social media and your website
In this episode of #StepUpYourSocial, we dig into all three of these reasons, as well as how to approach creating content, the difference between timely and evergreen content... and a whole lot more!
Tune in today right here or wherever you listen to podcasts.
A supporter spotlight is an opportunity for you to shine a light on one of your supporters and talk about how great they are. It can be a blog or a Facebook post, a short video on Instagram or whatever else makes sense for your brand. The primary thing is that you are shouting someone important to your brand.
And support spotlights are win-win-win.
In this episode, we'll cover the what, the how and the why. Listen now below, or wherever you stream podcasts.
Full Episode Transcript
Supporter spotlights are win-win-win.
Before we delve into our 3 wins, let’s real quick define the term “supporter.”
A supporter isn’t someone who buys your products — it’s someone who waits in line to be the first one to buy your product. Or regularly tweets or posts about themselves using your product.
It’s not the person who donates to your organization, but the person who calls on all their friends to do the same.
It’s not the person who comes to your event. But the person who shows up early and stays late to help set-up and tear-down.
Put shortly — your supporters are the people without whom your brand couldn’t exist.
A supporter spotlight is quite simply an opportunity for you to shine a light on one of your supporters and talk about how great they are. It can be a blog or a Facebook post, a short video on Instagram or whatever else makes sense for your brand. The primary thing is that you are shouting someone important to your brand.
So that’s the what. Now let’s talk about the why and breakdown the 3 wins involved in a supporter spotlight.
Win 1 — you are showing the world that your company or organization is bigger than just you and your paid staff.
There are people — not motivated by a paycheck — who care about you, your product or your mission.
Introduce these people to your audience. In the process you’ll inspire other members of your audience to want to dig deeper and learn more about what makes you, your product or your service so special. I mean after all, someone got up at 3am to buy that thing you sell. It must be pretty amazing!
Win 2 — This one is the most obvious. A supporter spotlight is literally a digital thank you. If your supporters are awesome, and treat you right, why wouldn’t you want to give them a shoutout for being so great.
Win 3 — This is the one that can really help you move the needle.
When you write up your supporter spotlight — you want to make it not just about how great your supporter is generally. You want to make it about why your supporter loves your brand the way they do.
Let’s say you’re a nonprofit that focuses on planting trees and gardens in urban areas. There are a lot of reasons someone might be excited about your work. Maybe it’s the after school programs you run. Maybe it’s the environmental component of your work. Maybe it’s the fact that you are beautifying the city by turning brown lots into community gardens.
When you write up your post thanking your support for being so great — clarify what it is that he or she loves about your work. And be specific. Because invariably, that person is going to share your supporter shoutout with his or her own audience. And guess what — if that person loves that you have an after school program for kids — that person probably has a lot of friends in their network that also have kids. And those people MAY have heard of you, but now you are providing this supporter an opportunity to introduce you and your brand directly to his or her friends and family… in your own words! You are talking about how great you are, but from the perspective of someone who already loves you and your work!
When I served as the digital director on a governor’s race, we did 45 such supporter spotlights throughout the final 30 days of the campaign. In every one, we introduced the supporter we were spotlighting, talked about where they lived and what their role was in the campaign. Then we talked about what got them excited about the candidate.
If they were a teacher, and liked that the candidate had a great education policy, we talked about that. If they were a nurse, and they were excited about the candidate’s healthcare plan, we talked about that. If they were in a union, and liked the candidate’s union stance, that was the focus of the post.
So when we shared our supporter spotlight, we were showing the world that the campaign was bigger than simply the candidate and his staff (win 1). We were thanking the people who had been working tirelessly to help get us to election day (win 2). And we were talking about why our supporters was so passionate about the candidate in a way that we knew would resonate with their own personal communities (win 3).
We knew that the teacher would have lots of teacher friends, the nurse lots of nurse friends, the union member… you get the idea. So when they invariably shared our spotlight, that allowed us to reach directly out to their friends and networks, talking about how great we were on an issue that we already knew was near and dear to their heart.
Win. Win. Win.
So find the people who help keep your brand going and thank them. It’s the least you can do! And you’ll probably grow your brand in the process!
Instagram Stories just keep getting more popular. Over 500 million people now use them every... single... day!
And their functionality keeps growing as well.
In this episode of #StepUpYourSocial, we cover ten tips, tricks, hacks and strategies that you should be using to take your Instagram Story game to the next level.
We want to hear them!
Share them in the comments, hit us up on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn, or share them online them using the hashtag #StepUpYourSocial.
Full Episode Transcript
In episode 3, we did a “deep dive into instagram stories.” But stories keep on growing, both in their popularity and in their functionality. So today we’re going to cover some fun tricks and hacks to take your Instagram stories to the next level.
If you’re not already posting stories on a regular basis, head back to episode 3 and get caught up on what they are and why and how you should be using them.
And now let’s dig in!
1) Use the location sticker to say where you are. You can be super specific — I’m at the WI capitol. You can be a bit vague — I’m in Madison, WI. Or you can be super vague — I’m in WI.
There are 2 reasons to use location stickers: first, it helps people know where you are. And 2) and this is the important one, it could dramatically increase your story’s reach. There’s no surefire way to get one of your stories added to a public story — which will definitely increase your reach — but not tagging your location guarantees that you WON’T be added to the public location’s story.
And here’s something cool: Instagram is smart enough to know that the WI Capitol is in Madison and that Madison is in WI. So it’s possible you’ll wind up in the public stories for all 3 of those places. Which is the main reason why specific location tagging is better than general location tagging. But any location tagging is better than none!
Two more notes on this — one) not every story should be tagged by location. If you’re sharing a screenshot of one of your tweets, or posting a Game of Thrones meme that got you laughing, it’s okay to skip the location. And 2 — and this one’s a big one — you don’t actually have to be at a location to tag yourself there. Now of course I’m not telling you to lie to your audience. But if you took a bunch of pictures at an event last night and we’re too busy to share stories in real time, you can post them the next day, and tag the location after the fact. Just search for the location within the search bar, select it, and voila. You’re tagged.
You can then move that sticker around, make it bigger or smaller, or click it to get different color formatting to better fit the feel of your story.
2) There’s a location sticker. There’s also a hashtag sticker. Use it! Just like you might be added to a public location’s story, thus increasing your story’s reach, using a hashtag sets you up to potentially be added to a public hashtag’s story.
Now on a general Instagram post, you can use up to 30 hashtags. Stories won’t let you go that far, but it will allow you to use up to 10 hashtags. The more hashtags you use, the better chance you have of getting added to that public story.
Now it will only let you use the hashtag sticker once in a story. But if it makes sense for you to add more, just pop on over to your text and start typing our relevant hashtags.
IF you are going to do this — and of course you don’t have to go for 10 in every post, consider stacking and then hiding them, so that it doesn’t make your story look gaudy. To do that, create each hashtag as a new piece of text, meaning that instead of just hitting space between tags, you hit done after each one, and then start new text for tag number 2 and so on. Then you can stack them, literally put them all on top of each other. Which will look awful. But fear not, head back to your stickers and find yourself a sticker or a gif to stick on top. Then no one will see them except instagram… which is the only one who matters here!
3) There’s a location and a hashtag sticker. There’s also a mention sticker. This lets you tag someone in your picture, or any relevant public account you want. This one won’t help you get into any public stories, but it will give a public shoutout to the account you are tagging, and just as important, it will send a notification to that account that you have tagged them in a story.
As I always say — don’t talk about anyone on the internet if you wouldn’t want them to know. And talking about them without tagging them is like talking to them on the phone without first dialing their number. Without it, they might accidentally come your post, but a tag all but ensures they see it!
4) Another reason to tag someone is that when you do, they then get the option to share your story with their followers. So you give them a shoutout, and then they help you reach new audiences. win-win!
Along with hoping your community shares your posts, definitely consider sharing relevant and interesting stories that tag you. User generated content can be an amazing way to tell your brand’s story.
And, something cool about sharing other people’s stories — it’s more like a quote tweet than a retweet. Meaning you don’t just have to share their story as is. You essentially are sharing their story as a sticker, meaning you can add your own location, mention and hashtag stickers to it, gifs, text and more.
The ability to share stories changed the whole concept of instagram’s power of telling stories in real time. Take advantage of this tool, as makes sense for you and your brand.
5) If you haven’t explored the loads of fun stickers available to you, you are missing out! Along with the ones we’ve already covered, and gifs (which I love!), there are also some really cool engagement stickers built right into the platform.
You can solicit questions from your audience (which you can then answer in follow up stories), take polls, quiz your audience… there’s even a countdown clock available to you if you have an exciting event taking place and want to build some excitement.
6) Did you know that you can add any Instagram post, your own or anyone else’s, to your stories? To do so is extremely simple — at the bottom of the post, next to the heart and comment icons, there’s a little paper airplane. Click it and you’ll see the option to “add to story.” Click that and whatever you were looking at will appear as a sticker in your story. When I say “whatever you were looking at,” what I mean is that if it was an album, you can only add one image, and if it’s a video, you will only be adding a screenshot of the thumbnail associated with the video.
But once you have the image in your story, you can move it around, make it bigger or smaller and add all of the stickers, gifs and text you want. And if you click on the actual post, it will change the formatting from the clean image with a tag of who posted it, to an image that includes the handle and part of the post’s original text.
Here’s the coolest hack for this though — go to your gif library and search “tap here.” You’ll have loads of options — pick one you like. Add your tap here sticker to your story. When someone clicks it, they’ll get a seemingly magic option to visit the original post. Here’s the thing — they would get that option whether or not you point them to tap there. Most folks just don’t realize it. So the built-in call-to-action makes it super easy to drive people from your story to your original post (or anyone else’s). It a big part of why more and more accounts are creating stories from their posts. It’s a second audience you can engage around the same content, and you can potentially drive people back to the original. I don’t know that you should do this for every post, but maybe the one’s you are particularly excited about.
7) When I am building a new story that’s not based on a picture, I’ll sometimes just snap a photo while covering the camera. So I get a black background. Which works fine. But if you want a different color background, there’s actually a really easy way to create one.
Take a picture — of whatever’s in front of you — and then click the pen tool. Select the first pen, pick your color of choice on the bottom and then hold your finger down on the screen. The whole background will become that color.
If you want to add a transparent color over top of one of your pictures, you can do that too. Instead of selecting the first pen, select the second one, which looks more like a marker. Choose your color, hold down and you get a transparent overlay over top of your picture.
Want to get really clever with either of these — create your solid or transparent color over top of a picture, and then use the eraser to remove color from the selected areas. That can create a very cool effect!
8) If you have 10k followers, you can link a story to an external link. Which is a very powerful tool, but one that not a lot of users actually have access to.
So for those of you with less than 10,000 followers, you can’t link to an external source. But you do have one option for linking your story — you can link it to an IGTV video that you have posted previously.
IGTV, short for Instagram TV, allows you to post longer videos then you can post within Instagram proper. In Instagram, you are limited to one minute videos. But with IGTV, you can go up to 10 minutes, and some bigger accounts can even go up to an hour.
It can be a great way to repurpose videos that you created elsewhere but couldn’t post to Instagram because they were too long.
And once you have posted those longer videos, you can link directly to them through a story. To do so, simply click the link icon at the top of your story. You will then be able to select from any of your pre-published videos in IGTV. Then anyone seeing your story can swipe up and get to your IGTV video.
Consider searching through the gifs library for one that creates a call to action to swipe up to help your audience realize that your story is intended to take them somewhere.
9) Here’s a fun hack — while Instagram offers a handful of cool fonts, they don’t provide many options in terms of formatting your text. But want to create a drop shadow effect? Doing so is really easy! Create your text, ideally not changing the size at all (you can change color and placement, but if you change size you are going to struggle to get the drop shadow text to match perfectly). Once you have it exactly how you want it, create it again with a different color. Then place one of the texts on top of the other, but just slightly off, enough to create your own… wait for it… drop shadow.
Want to see an example of this in action. Head over to my Instagram account — I’m @jlemonsk — and then check out my story highlight titled IG updates. Whenever I create a story about a new Instagram feature, hack or strategy, I add it to that highlight. Scroll through and you’ll find one that shows this drop shadow hack in action.
10) I saved this next one for last because it is just so freaking awesome! Want to add a sticker, text or a gif to a video and have it follow along with the video, rather than just remaining static in one spot? Doing so is actually quite easy! Create a video story (either take a new video in the app, or add in a video that’s already on your phone). Then select the sticker or gif you want, or type in the text. Now, while the video is playing in the background, hold your finger down on the sticker or text.
You’ll then get a scrollbar at the bottom of the screen. That scrollbar will let you move through the video at your own speed. Get to a spot that works for you and then move and/or resize the sticker until you have it where you want it. Then hit pin. Assuming your video isn’t too complicated for Instagram to handle, it should paste your sticker or text onto that spot in the video and then let it follow along throughout the duration of the video.
So for example, instead of your train sticker just sitting in the top corner of your video, you can pin it to the front of the train and as the train moves through your video, your sticker will move through with it.
Pretty cool, right?
Your turn — what are some of your favorite strategies, tricks or hacks that you have been using to step up your Instagram story game? I want to hear about them. Hit me up on Instagram (again, I’m @jlemonsk), or on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn where I’m Reverbal Communications. Or share it online using the hashtag #StepUpYourSocial.
And if you tag me in your stories, you better believe I’ll gonna share it! So hit me up!
Now what are you waiting for. Get out there and step up your story game!
Step Up Your Social Ep. 10 — Facebook Wants You To Know What Your Competitors Are Doing... So Does Google
Don’t you wish you had a magic wand you could use to see what your competitors were doing well, so that you could grow your own business accordingly?
Facebook has a free feature, available to all Facebook Brand pages, that might as well be a magic wand. Yet so few brands are taking advantage of this simple, powerful and important feature.
So let’s dig into Facebook’s “Pages To Watch.”
Afterward, we’ll cover some other helpful and free tools you should be using to keep tabs on your competitors across the internet, including mailing lists, other social channels and the almighty Google Alerts.
Full Episode Transcript
Don’t you wish you had a magic wand you could use to see what your competitors were doing well, so that you could grow your own business accordingly? Facebook has a free feature, available to all Facebook Brand pages, that might as well be a magic wand. Yet so few brands are taking advantage of this simple, powerful and important feature. So let’s dig in to Facebook’s “Pages To Watch.” Afterwards, we’ll cover some other helpful and free tools you should be using to keep tabs on your competitors across the internet. But first up: Pages to Watch.
To access this great feature, go to your brand’s Facebook page. At the top, you will see a menu bar including the following items: Page, Inbox, Notifications and then Insights. Click there. If you haven’t been to your insights yet, you are missing out on a ton of valuable information. We’ll do some more deep dives into Facebook Insights down the road. But for now, let’s just stick to this particular tool.
Once you’ve clicked Insights, you’ll be on the “overview” page. Scroll down to the bottom and you should see a section called “pages to watch.”
If you have never been there before, chances are Facebook has auto-populated the section with pages they think you might want to watch. If they guessed right, great. If not, simply hover over the number on the left and you can delete it from your list.
To add new pages, click the option to “add pages.”
Once you have your pages set up, you’ll see some very basic data: the name of the page, it’s total page Likes, the percent it grew from last week, how many times they posted this week and what their engagement this week has been. None of those data points are all that useful. BUT, if you click on the name of any of the pages, something interesting happens.
Facebook opens up a pop-up box and shows you that page’s top content from the past week. Top content in this case means that it had the highest combination of reach and engagement of anything that page posted this past week. And you can scroll down and see all of their content from the week, ordered by how popular it was for their audience.
Quite a feature, right?!
Bear in mind, when you follow a page, they have no way of knowing you are doing so. So if you want to know what is working for your competitors, without having to continuously go back to their page and scroll through their feed, you can just pop on over here every couple of days and easily keep tabs on them.
If you see that several of your competitors are sharing an article or a meme and it is resonating with their audiences… well don’t steal their content. But definitely do be inspired by it!
The content that is working for your competitors will probably also work for you. Follow along, learn, and create your own content accordingly.
And here’s the thing, while of course you should be watching your competitors, don’t limit yourself to them. Follow influencers in your field, relevant journalists or publications, even high value customers if you they are using brand pages.
Figure out who’s success you most want to track, and then spend a few minutes setting up your Facebook Pages to Watch. It will be an amazing tool you can use indefinitely moving forward.
While we’re on the topic of tracking your competitors, influencers, high-value customers and the like, let’s cover a few ways to do so outside of Facebook.
First of all, if the people you want to follow have public mailing lists, sign up! There’s no better way to know what they are excited about, then to see what they are sharing with the people they care about most. It probably goes without saying, but you might not want to use your company or organization’s branded email to sign up for a competitor’s email list. So use your gmail address, or create something new specifically for this purpose. While it might seem weird to be on their list, don’t forget, unless they are limiting sign-up (and this is important: don’t lie in any way to get on their list!) they know that their list is public. And chances are, if you have an email, they’re on it! As far as influencers and relevant journalists go, you can use your branded email or not. Your call.
In episode two of this podcast, we covered the power and the importance of twitter lists. Twitter lists are a great way to follow relevant accounts. And you can use private lists to do so under-the-radar, even if your brand isn’t using Twitter as an outreach and communications tool. Go back and listen to that episode for more.
There are also plenty of third party tools out there that will track keyword mentions and send you alerts when those keywords pop up online. Some are free, most are not. But one powerful one that is free is google alerts. If you haven’t set up google alerts yet, you should do so immediately.
To do so go to google.com/alerts. Once there you can put in some relevant keywords and let google know that you want to receive email alerts whenever those words are used online. It’s important to know that google alerts don’t track content from social media platforms, so don’t expect to see Facebook or Twitter mentions on there.
But if someone mentions you or your brand in a blog post, or on their website, Google will usually catch it and send you an alert.
And here’s the thing, you can select if you want google to send you an alert as a mention happens, or to instead send you a daily or weekly digest of all mentions. For your brand, you should get those alerts as they happen. Unless people are talking about your brand numerous times a day, you want to know you’ve been mentioned as soon as possible. But if you also want to use them to track competitors, industry keywords, influencers and the like, you might not need them rolling in as they happen and you can opt to receive those alerts as part of a daily or even weekly round-up. The choice is yours.
One other cool thing you can do with google alerts is set them up for high value clients so that if that client gets an award or someone writes a story about them, you can be amongst the first to reach out and congratulate them. Alternately, you can let them know if you find something problematic that they might want to deal with
The tools are out there for you to keep tabs on the internet. The set up is relatively simple and the rewards can be immense.
So I’ll finish this episode with the same question I started it with: Don’t you wish you had a magic wand you could use to see what your competitors were doing well? Turns out, you do! You just have to take a moment and set it up.
I don't know about you, but I use Apple Notes constantly. I love them for a bunch of reasons, but primarily: they are always with me. And I mean always.
I can jot something down in Notes when at my computer, and through the magic of the iCloud, my Notes are there waiting for me on my iPhone or iPad whenever I need them. And vice versa of course.
Not only that, you can use shared Notes just like you use Google Docs, shared between people.
Sharing Apple Notes
The primary difference between Notes and Google Docs on your phone (in my experience)— Notes are much more seamless. You can practically see things happening in real time between devices, unlike with Google Docs where the phone lag-time can be significant.
To invite someone to collaborate with you on a Note, click the "add a person" button, which looks like this:
You can then add people via email, text message, AirDrop or by sending them the link in the platform of your choice. You'll know it's a shared note from this little icon:
And now, just like a Google Doc, anyone with access can add to, edit or delete items in your shared Notes.
Locking Apple Notes
Sometimes you want a safe space to put things in your phone where you know that no one can access them, even if you hand over your iPhone, iPad or computer.
Apple Notes is also the solution for this little problem.
Want to store passwords or... well, whatever... throw it in a note and then right click in on your computer or swipe left on your iOs device and you'll get the option to Lock the folder. When you do so, every time you want to access it, you'll have to input your device's password. Which is crazy convenient if you use fingerprint or face ID!
When a Note is locked, it will be designated by a little lock icon.
Clean Up Your Notes Using Folders
I told you I use Notes a lot. And for a lot of different things in my life. So of course, I have a lot of different Notes.
Folders allow me to separate out my Notes by category. I have a folder for personal Notes, another for work Notes. You can have as many as you want, which makes for really quick and easy scrolling. And of course, if you can't find what you are looking for — like with anything else Apple — you can always search all your Notes by the search bar at the top.
You can also pin your primary Note to the top of your folder, to ensure easy access to your most important data.
Notes Have Great Formatting Options For Such a Simple Tool
You can create bullet points, numbered lists, and indent right as needed.
You can make text bold, italicized, underlined and all that fun stuff.
You can also add in tons of great tools, including tables:
You can even scan documents, or add in a photo or video directly into your Notes!
Didn't You Say Something About Checkable Bullet Points?
I sure did! Don't get me wrong — I LOVE all of the features I have laid out above. But the reason I'm writing this post is because I just learned something new about Notes and it's already helped me seriously step up my Note game.
We write ourselves lots of reminders: Buy milk. Email client. Finish report. Some of these are one-off tasks. But many of them are recurring.
For years, I've been deleting items that I finished, and rewriting them when it was time to do them again (pretty standard for a grocery list for example). Well no more!
With this one tiny hack, you can now write those tasks out once, and then select or unselect the accompanying bullet point, never having to write it out again.
Here's what this looks like:
You write your line item and then check or uncheck the bullet point as appropriate. This will change the way you grocery shop (it sure has for me) but also probably the way you run your business!
To access this feature, just click the checkmark in the circle icon:
Now add "share this blog post on your social channels" and then go ahead and take it off (after you've done so of course!).
In the mean time, check out more of my iOS tips and tricks.
Have any other iOS tips, tricks or hacks you think the people should know? Leave them in the comments or hit me up on social and let's share them with the world.
Warren Buffett is a better writer than you for one simple reason: he knows his audience and he writes directly for them. Are you doing the same?
Don't write your content for "the world," rather write it for an individual. Don't try to make yourself *sound* smart. Try to make your reader *feel* smart.
This episode covers some takeaways from Social Media Marketing World 2019 and pulls from a great presentation given by Ann Handley, the author of Everybody Writes.
Full Episode Transcript
Last week, I attended Social Media Marketing World in San Diego. Throughout some upcoming episodes, I’ll be sharing a few takeaways from the massive conference, which played host to around 5000 social media and marketing professionals!
But today I want to talk about a presentation I saw by Ann Handley, the author of Everybody Writes.
While her session was called “How to write an email newsletter that people clear their schedules to read,” it could have just as easily been called — it’s time to focus less on the news of newsletter, and more on the letter.
I’m a huge email junky — along with writing email newsletters for my own business and my clients, I also read a lot of emails from brands, journalists, politicians and the like. And I mean a lot. In fact, email has become my primary method for keeping up with the news. I get daily or weekly emails from a ton of journalists and organizations, and let me tell you: there’s a huge difference between an email that was written for me, and one that was written for the world.
And that brings us to our title: Why Warren Buffett is a better writer than you. Warren Buffett is arguably the smartest person alive in his field. He could probably sit down and write his annual report ensuring that you couldn’t understand a word of it. He could use big words, tech jargon and language intended to make him sound smart, rather than to make you become smarter. But he understands that he doesn’t have to prove himself to anyone (at least not in his writing!). He uses his annual letter to convey a message and he wants to ensure that message is accessible to all. To do that, he has a trick. And it’s such a simple trick, you won’t believe it.
Rather than writing his annual letter to his stockholders, en masse, he writes it to his two sisters, Doris and Bertie. Now I’m sure that Doris and Bertie are very smart women. But they aren’t as smart at investing as Warren Buffett — no one is! When I say he writes it to them, I mean literally. He starts his letter “Dear Doris and Bertie.” He removes the line before sending it along, but the DNA of the letter is personal and real. He doesn’t want his sisters to feel dumb — he wants them to feel smart! And he writes accordingly.
Ann Handley talked about this concept at length during her session at social media marketing world and it really resonated with me — because it’s something I’ve recommend to my clients for years.
Along with working with nonprofits and business professionals (as well as solopreneurs, bands, artists, authors and all kids of other brands!) I do a lot of work with candidates and elected politicians. I was doing an audit and a training for a caucus a while back and I realized that a majority of the members of the caucus were regularly tweeting our press releases. No one on Twitter wants to read a press release. NOT EVEN THE PRESS!
I told them that before they sent any further communications, whether it be via Twitter, Facebook, email, anything… they should picture an actual constituent reading their content. Do you think that sweet grandpa you met last month while knocking doors is going to appreciate your press release? He isn’t! Take the message of the release and make it digestable to him. Is he going to know the terminology of laws and budgets and legalese? Maybe. But probably not! So write it for him. The goal is not to make yourself sound smart — the goal is to make your reader feel smart.
I tell all my clients to picture an actual customer before sending a post. I even had someone tell me they loved the idea so much, they wrote a customer’s name down on a post-it note and stuck it to their computer. This way, anytime they write anything, they force themselves to think of this specific person.
Warren Buffett is a better writer than you because he knows his audience — it’s his sisters. Become a better writer simply by focusing on an individual, rather than the world. Because even if your tweet or Facebook post goes viral, or your email gets forwarded on by Oprah and millions of people see it, it’s still being consumed by single individuals, one at a time.
Don’t think of your content as a megaphone, blasting everyone in the area with your knowledge, wisdom and wit. Rather think of it as a telephone, creating a connection between two people. Your writing will be better for it. And your audience will walk away with a much better understanding of your message. And isn’t that kinda the whole point?
Social media can be an overwhelming place, especially when you feel like you don't speak the language.
You’re scrolling through your social channels and you see a bunch of random letters tacked together — TIL, FWIW, IMHO — it can be hard to even know where to start.
So in this episode we cover a list of social media acronyms you should know. This list is neither meant to be exhaustive nor fully up-to-date (since internet language is constantly evolving!).
But in the meantime, you should probably know all of these acronyms if you want to keep up with your customers and your audience.
Any we missed? Tweet them at us using #StepUpYourSocial. In the meantime, HTH (Hope This Helps!).
NOTE: This list was modified from a previous blog post I wrote which you can find here.
Full Episode Transcript
Social media can feel like an overwhelming place, especially if you feel like you don’t speak the language. You’re scrolling through your social channels and you see a bunch of random letters tacked together — TIL, FWIW, IMHO — it can be hard to even know where to start.
So I put together a list of social media acronyms you should know. This list is modified from a blog post I wrote a while back which you can find at bit.ly/suys-acronyms. This list is neither meant to be exhaustive nor fully up-to-date (since internet language is constantly evolving!). But in the meantime, you should probably know all of these acronyms if you want to keep up with your customers and your audience.
If you come across any others you aren’t sure about, Google can almost always provide an answer pretty quickly. But if you find yourself stumped, feel free to reach out on Twitter, Facebook (I’m at Reverbal Communications) or drop me an email at email@example.com and I’ll see if I can’t offer an assist.
Without further ado, here are some social media acronyms that you should know:
TFW you open a book and find the author’s signature in it.” In other words, it’s a nice feeling that everyone knows and you are currently enjoying. Lean into it!
Any that I missed? Share them on Facebook or Twitter using the #StepUpYourSocial. In the meantime, HTH (Hope This Helps)!
There are 5 keywords that, when used in a post on Facebook, automatically limit your post's reach. Facebook has labeled the tactic in question as "Engagement Bait."
While Engagement Bait first started being penalized in the Facebook algorithm over a year ago, Facebook just recently began applying their penalties to video content, as well as to text.
In this episode, we cover the what, the why and the how of Engagement Bait, as well as some tips for avoiding it.
Full Episode Transcript
Here in Madison, there’s a music venue that used to run this really clever ongoing campaign — they would give away a free pair of tickets to an upcoming concert. To enter, all you had to do was tag the person you would bring with you in the comments if you won. Then they randomly selected one lucky responder to nab a free pair of tickets to the show.
But really, the biggest winner in this contest was the venue.
The contest cost them 2 concert tickets, but hundreds of people were identifying and promoting the shows directly to their friends. And not just any friends, but the friends they most thought would want to go to the show. So while two people got to go for free, hundreds of potential fans were being tagged by friends and notified that a show they might be excited about was right around the corner.
And not only that, the Facebook algorithm would have been going nuts seeing all of this organic engagement the venue’s page was generating. Every time someone tagged a friend, they were micro-targeting one person, but also telling Facebook that this content was hot and they should show it to lots more people. As far as the venue was concerned, this was a win/win.
And all it cost them was a pair of concert tickets!
I used to see this tactic employed on my Facebook feed all the time. You probably did too. And then one day, it just stopped.
That’s because in late 2017, Facebook labeled this type of content as “engagement bait.” And they started penalizing it in the algorithm.
Because Facebook can’t actually know your intention when you share a post, they defined engagement bait pretty broadly as simply any post that mentions one of the 5 following words:
It didn’t matter the context, using one of these words simply caused Facebook to devalue your content in the algorithm. Meaning they literally showed your post to fewer people.
As a marketer, this might be annoying. As a user though, you can probably understand why they did this.
While I loved that the concert venue was giving away tickets (I even won a pair once!) the tactic of asking people to tag their friends can get get to be pretty spammy. Like this post if your an Aries doesn’t do much to create meaningful conversations or connections online.
When Facebook first announced the new rules around Engagement Bait, they only applied to the text in your post. Then they updated it to also apply to text in the comments (as lots of clever marketers would simply make their engagement request in the first comment rather than in the post itself).
And now, Facebook has finally made the final jump — they will also demote content that uses engagement bait words (like, vote comment, tag and share) within the audio of a video.
While this might seem frustrating, just remember, it is genuinely in Facebook’s interest that you enjoy the content you, and everyone else, sees in their feed. If not, you, and everyone else, will stop logging in. And then there will be no one to market too anyway!
You can still encourage engagement, you just can’t do so using 5 key words. Don’t ask people to “respond in the comments.” Just ask your question. Your users know how to respond. And don’t ask for the like — create content they will like without being prodded.
Of course you can ignore these rules all you want. But Facebook ultimately decides how many people will see your posts. So ignoring their rules means limiting your own reach. The choice is clear as far as I’m concerned.
Engagement is great! Engagement bait — not so much.
You start a new Facebook brand page. It's only natural to invite everyone you know to like the page.
The problem is, you're actually hurting your page's future growth when you invite people who like you — but don't care about your brand — to like your Facebook brand page.
In this episode:
• We dive into the Facebook algorithm
• Talk about the difference between "good" and "bad" likes
• Cover helpful tips to grow your page with the right audience
• The importance of using a brand page for your page (as opposed to a personal account)
• And a whole lot more
Are you leaving low hanging fruit on the table? Are you missing opportunities to encourage your current customers, fans or audience to start conversations with you online, thus promoting your brand to their own networks in the process?
In this episode, we cover two inter-related topics: the importance of displaying your handles *everywhere* your audience is and the vital role that engagement plays in creating and managing a beneficial social media program.
Never forget — social media is not a tool to speak TO the people. It’s a tool to speak WITH the people. The goal is to have conversations and to build relationships.
Full Episode Transcript
If you run ads on Facebook without first building quality audiences, it's like you're standing in the street, throwing expensive flyers in the air, and hoping for the best.
Facebook offers you the opportunity to microtarget based on tons of different factors.
In this episode, we talk about the importance of microtargeting.
We will also cover the three different Facebook advertising audience types:
• Lookalike and
We'll cover what they are, how to build them, and why you should be using them to run ads on Facebook.
If you enjoy this this podcast, please consider reviewing it on iTunes. Thanks for tuning in!
"Stories" are the Facebook response to Snapchat — fun, quirky bits of content that disappear after 24 hours.
Throughout the Facebook Universe — WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook and Messenger, people are currently sharing over a billion stories every day!
Instagram Stories alone has over 400 million daily active users — more than twice as many as Snapchat.
Stories have all kinds of fun and interesting capabilities built directly into the platform.
In this episode of Step Up Your Social, we cover the what, the when and the how of Stories along with a bunch of tips, tricks and fun things you should try.
Listen today and let us know if you have any questions, or anything to add to the conversation around this fun topic!
In episode 2 of #StepUpYourSocial, we tackle the important subject of Twitter lists.
One common complain about Twitter is that the platform can feel chaotic. Twitter lists are how you make order out of that chaos.
They serve as an amazing listening tool, whether or not your brand is active on Twitter.
Throughout the episode we cover:
The episode is available now. Listen here or wherever you listen to podcasts. That's right — we are now live across the podcast universe! Find us iTunes or the Google Play store, on Stitcher, Overcast, Spotify... If we aren't available yet in your podcast player of choice, let us know and we'll look into rectifying that.
That's for listening. Subscribe today and then get back to telling your story!
That's right! I've started a podcast.
It's called Step Up Your Social and it's intended to provide quick, actionable tips to help you master your social media. I plan on making these all "flash episodes," around 10 minutes long or less.
That way you can hop in, learn something quick and get right back to work!
Have a topic you want to hear me cover? Drop it in the comments, tweet it at me, or use the hashtag #StepUpYourSocial.
In the inaugural episode, I discuss the difference between crossposting your comments and autoposting them.
One of those is good, the other is very, very bad.
Give a listen. And then get right back to telling your story!
Wisconsinites went to the polls on Tuesday In droves. The final results of the election though do not fully reflect the will of the people.
There were five statewide races: Governor (with Lt. Gov on the same ticket), US Senator, Attorney General, Treasurer and Secretary of State. Democrats won all five races. This is the first time that’s happened since 1982.
Dems had unmistakable victories at the statewide level. As you look down the ballot though, the results tell a very different story.
Wisconsin has eight Congressional seats all of which were up for election on Tuesday. Going into Election Day, Democrats controlled three of them and Republicans the remaining five. No seat flipped.
All told, Wisconsin Democratic Congressional candidates received 1,350,960 votes.
Wisconsin Republican Congressional Candidates received 1,171,456 votes.
[These numbers have been updated since original posting, as additional totals have been tallied and reported. See most up-to-date vote breakdown here.]
And yet, as mentioned, Dems got three out of eight seats.
That’s right, Dems got 53.5% of the vote, yet took only 37.5% of the seats.
When we look at the State Assembly, which had every seat up for grabs this past Tuesday, that disparity becomes even more glaring.
While final numbers are still not fully available for all races, Democratic Assembly candidates appear poised to take right around 1.3 million votes to Republican Assembly candidates 1.1 million votes.
And yet Democrats walked away with only 36 seats, while Republicans took a staggering 63!
That means that Democrats won 54% of the vote and yet took only 36% of the seats.
A Flimsy Response to a Gerrymandered Map
Republican Speaker Robin Vos’s response to the imbalance of the map: “I do not like the fact that Madison and Milwaukee chose Gov. Evers and they’re the reason that he won. But in the process that we have, Madison and Milwaukee get the chance to vote. I don’t like the outcome all the time, but they have a fair chance.”
Speaker Vos is essentially arguing that Wisconsin should not have a popular vote (or popular representation), but rather that we need our very own electoral college to protect Wisconsin from its two largest cities.
But of course how a city votes is irrelevant (or should be!). It should be how the people vote. And his explanation doesn’t even come close to explaining the clear disparities at play. Of course Madison and Milwaukee have a large role in deciding our state’s leadership. The combined population of their two metro areas makes up over a third of the state’s population. That’s simply how representative democracy works. Or how it’s supposed to anyway.
Wisconsin went to the polls on Tuesday and now we find ourselves with a split government. But that’s not because of how the people voted, it’s because of how the maps were drawn.
Remember that the next time our minority-elected legislative government aims to make sweeping changes to our state — changes like curbing the authority of our newly-elected Governor, because a powerful Executive was good for Vos and Senate Majority Leader Fitzgerald when that Executive was a Republican, but is a threat to their minority-rule now that he’s a Democrat.
Republicans couldn’t draw the statewide map to their benefit and every statewide race went to a Democrat. Despite winning sizable majorities in the popular vote for both Congress and the State Assembly, Democrats continue to find themselves in the minority of both bodies (for Congress, this only relates to the Wisconsin caucus, not the national map).
Partisan gerrymandering is undemocratic. Tuesday’s results show clear as day just how undemocratic.
Work in politics? Want to?
Learn more about how I work with candidates, elected officials and political organizations today.
If you work with people, you should have a photo/media library. Period.
Taking pictures of your customers/fans/community will help you tell your story in real time. It will also help ensure you have great content to use for years to come.
There’s no shortage of stock photography on the internet, but none of it has your team members in it, or your customers wearing/using/engaging with your products, or events taking place in neighborhoods where you live.
You don’t need to be an amazing photographer to build a photo library, you just need to pull out your smartphone and start taking pictures. If you have multiple team members, you should all take photos regularly to ensure as many different shots as possible of any given event, sale, party, etc.
But that’s where things gets complicated. If several members of your team are taking photos, then those photos are spread out across several different phones and devices.
There are many services out there that aim to solve this problem. Dropbox, Google Drive, Amazon Photos… all of them can do it. But they are all clunky and slow, and therefore unlikely to be used regularly and reliably. And if you aren’t sharing all your photos, the system isn’t working.
Here’s the good news: If every member of your team uses at least one Apple product, Shared iCloud Drives are the simplest solution you can imagine to solve this annoying problem.
Adding photos to a Shared Drive takes three clicks of the screen. Literally. And then everyone with access will have all shared photos and videos right on their phones and other Apple devices.
To add a photo(s)/video(s) to a Shared Drive, simply open up the media on your phone you want to share.
Then click in the share box in the bottom left of the screen.
At this point you can email or text the photo, or you can share it to Twitter, Instagram or Facebook. But don’t do any of that. Select the rainbow icon labeled iCloud Photo Sharing.
The name of my Shared Album is Reverbal Communications. Click next to Shared Album and you can add your media to any existing Shared Drive you're a part of, or you can create a new one.
Optionally: you can add text or message to accompany your photo. I highly recommend you do this, both for your own sake, and for the sake of your team members. Say where you were, what you were doing, who is in the photo(s)/video(s) and any other information your team should know.
You can add a message or a note for an individual piece of media, or a group of pictures/videos. Whatever you choose to share will be commented on individually or as a unit.
Then just hit post and everyone in the Shared Drive will get a notification that there is new media in the Shared Drive.
When you open up the Shared Drive, you can toggle between Photos and People.
To invite new people to the Drive, go to People and then click “Invite People.”
They can only accept your invitation if they have an iCloud enabled device (a Mac computer, phone or tablet). You can invite them through their email or phone number, so long as that contact info is associated with an iCloud account.
Shared Drives are a great tool for placing all media at the fingertips of everyone on your team. You can have as many as you want too, so maybe have one accessible to interns or revolving staffers, and another for senior staffers/stakeholders. Or you have different Shared Drives for different parts of your team. Whatever works for you and your organization.
Have questions? Hit me up. I’m here to help you and you team get started building your Digital Media Library.
Check out some other iPhone tips and tricks.
Have any favorite secret iOS tips, tricks, tools or hacks that you love? Share them in the comments!
Ever wanted to spice up your Facebook post, but didn't know how?
With a Facebook Note, you can add a cover photo, as well as pictures and GIFs throughout your posts.
You can also format your text with bold and italics, bullet and numbered lists, hyperlinks and much more.
So instead of just another boring picture, your post can look like this:
If you have tuned out this news completely for Memorial Day weekend, congratulations!
If not, the biggest story in your varied timelines is probably about how the US is systematically removing children from their parents, many of whom came here seeking asylum (and all of whom came seeking a better life).
The parents are being given no information as to where their children are being taken or when — if ever — they will get to see them again. To make matters worse, we are now learning that the US has lost children (thousands of them 😞😱😡) that are supposed to be in the system, and that many of these children are getting sold to human traffickers.
This morning, Ivanka Trump tweeted a picture. The caption: “My ❤️! #SundayMorning”
While ordinarily, a picture like this would have gotten the Likes and the RTs rolling in, it could not have been more tone deaf to the world around it.
Ivanka is not just President Trump’s daughter, she is also a senior member of his administration.
A tweet does not live in a vacuum. A digital intern would have looked at this tweet and recommended to Ivanka she not post it, when the story of the weekend is lost children.
But post it she did. And so the Quote Tweets rolled in:
As a general rule, pictures and videos of babies and puppies can be engagement gold. But while good content is important, it can't work without an awareness of context.
In other words: you can ignore the people; but rest assured, they are not going to ignore you.
I use Twitter and Instagram a lot. Like a lot!
Both of these platforms require precision with limited text. Sometimes it's easier for people to follow what you are trying to say by turning your short text into more than one paragraph.
For a long time, I didn't know how to do that natively (in the app). So when needed, I'd draft my tweet or Instagram post in notepad and then copy and paste it into the platform.
And that worked just fine.
But it's annoying.
Then one day, I noticed something that had been right there at my fingertips all this time. It's so obvious, I felt silly for not noticing it. I didn't want to tell people about it, because I assumed everyone else already knew. But I recently shared it on social and so many people let me know how excited they were. This little trick (if you can even call it that) solved a problem they had struggled with for years. Clearly it wasn't just me missing this little Twitter and Instagram hack.
So many people told me they found it helpful, I just had to throw it up on the blog.
So without any further ado, if you want to hit "Return" (or "Enter") when composing a tweet or an Instagram post, just hit the "123" button. (The same one you hit to get to your number keypad or your punctuation.) And the "Return" key will be right there waiting for you. That's it.
Last week, I celebrated the birth of my new son. In Jewish tradition, a boy has a bris at day 8. A bris is a short ceremony where he is welcomed into the community and has his name announced to world (amongst other things 😳).
My wife and I live in Madison, WI. Madison is our chosen home — neither of us have families in town. My parents and her mom were able to join us in person. But that still left a lot of loved ones who couldn’t make it in for the occasion.
In the days leading up, my brother asked if I could Skype him in for the event. I said sure. Then one of my cousins made the same request and I realized that Skype was not going to work.
I wanted to stream the celebration for my family, but I didn’t want it to be open to the general public.
So here’s what I did: I created a private Facebook event and invited in those we wanted to join us remotely. This included family and friends in New York, New Jersey, North Carolina, Florida, Washington, California and even Germany. It included two grandmothers in their 80s/90s who were both thrilled about becoming great-grandmothers!
Once RSVPing that they would attend, I instructed the invitees to head over to the event page at the appropriate time. I then used Facebook Live to stream the entire ceremony directly into the private group.
They could all access it, and I didn’t have to worry about anyone else joining in, or someone sharing it to their networks and it becoming a public affair (I set the privacy settings to only stream to those “attending” the event).
The stream was one-way, but not the conversation.
I set up the phone on a tripod near our in-home guests. When everything was over, I went back and looked at the video. There were about 15 cyber-guests, but they had left a combined total of 99 comments! So after everyone had gone home and the kitchen was cleaned, we got to re-live the event through their comments.
One of my cousins even let me know that she wasn’t able to make it to the event in real time, but that she was able to watch it later that day on her own time.
As can I and any of the other invitees!
What’s The Point?
If you read my blog regularly, you probably realize that this isn’t a typical post for me. It’s a bit more personal than I normally delve. That said, the point of this post isn’t really to tell you about my intimate family affair. The real point of this post is the importance of understanding the tools in your digital toolkit.
My brother and cousin wanted me to Skype them in. Which would have worked for one or two people… but not a dozen!
Facebook Live would have been great for those we wanted to join us, but it would have been hard to keep it intimate and private.
A private Facebook event was a perfect solution to bring in the family, without having to broadcast it to the world.
Everyone who attended raved about how “fun” it was and how great it was that they got to be there. Never mind the fact that they were all thousands of miles away. They all had a front row seat, right alongside our parents and our local guests. And not only that, they could chat with each other throughout, without worrying about disturbing the ceremony.
In the words of one of my aunts: “This is all so cool that we can be so connected!”
While this story is about how I brought my family together, ask yourself when such tools might be helpful for bringing together your audience or community. Maybe you have an upcoming meeting you want to share with top volunteers. Or you want to announce a new product line to your VIP customers. Perhaps you want to give access to some of your fans, without opening up your conversation to the world. Our smartphones and social media platforms are full of amazing tools. Understanding them might just be the difference between bringing your community together… or not.
Want to start using Facebook Live, but not sure how to get started. Check out my free Facebook Live Checklist.
Not sure which digital tool might be right for your upcoming event. Be in touch and let’s figure it out together!
Did you know that Facebook lets you save things you want to come back to later?
Ever see an ad you were interested in, but didn’t have time to dig in? Maybe it was a post from your favorite digital storyteller and strategist, walking you through some awesome Facebook feature you definitely want to learn about, just not at this moment 😉. Perhaps it’s a picture of your baby nephew, who’s just too cute for words and you don’t want to lose track of all those awesome pictures of him in his adorable little onesies.
Facebook has you covered.
Anytime you see anything on Facebook — ANYTHING! — you can “save” it, offering you easy access to it whenever you want to go back to it in the future.
Go to any post on Facebook and click the three dotes in the top right hand corner.
You’ll get a dropdown menu. The very first option will offer you what looks like a ribbon icon and the option to “Save post."
Click it and that post/video/ad will immediately be added to your Saved Folder
How Do I Find My Saved Folder?
This too is extremely easy. Go to your homepage and look at the tabs on the lefthand side of the screen. Under “Explore,” you’ll find your “Saved” folder.
You’ll also find a bunch of other cool things.
For example: You know those “On This Day” posts Facebook shows you, reminding you about that time you became friends with that person you don’t even know 8 years ago? Well sometimes there are days or people we might prefer not to remember (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind anyone?). Click “On This Day” and then go to “Preferences” in the top right corner. You can choose people or dates to be excluded from those otherwise fun and helpful Facebook reminders!
Okay, so back to your Facebook Saved Folder
Click where it says “Saved” and anything you saved will be there waiting for you.
You can even search within your saved items!
Once you’ve saved a few items, you can then build collections, to make it even easier to navigate your favorite material.
I have numerous email addresses containing dozens of folders I use to keep track of my emails. I have subfolders within folders to keep everything clean and easy to find. I really like to know where my emails are, should I ever need to find them in the future.
I've used many emails over the years. As a result, I regularly have emails from clients, colleagues or friends wind up in the “wrong” account. When that happens, I have a few options.
I can reply, asking them to update their records. This one is kind of annoying, right?
I can forward the email from the wrong account to the right. This one is super annoying!
Or I can take advantage of a helpful iPhone trick and simply move the email from one account to another with just a few clicks on the screen. Obviously this one is my favorite.
And it’s the subject of today’s post. Moving an email from one account to another within an iPhone or iPad is very simple.
If you hit reply all on the email after moving it, you'll notice that the original email (your "wrong" email) will be on the recipient list. The iPhone essentially treated this action as an email forward. But it vastly simplifies an otherwise cumbersome process.
That's it. You're done.
Check out some other iPhone tips and tricks.
Have any favorite secret iOS tips, tricks, tools or hacks that you love? Share them in the comments!
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