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
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!
Since writing this post, Twitter has expanded the length of tweets from 140-280. While you might need NEED these hacks as often, every one of them is still worth understanding and will offer you a more complete toolkit when using Twitter.
Twitter has also updated the way that you can create tweet threads. I wrote a blog post about the update. You can find it here.
A while back, Jack and his Twitter crew talked about massively expanding Twitter’s iconic 140 character limit to 10,000! Predictably, the Twitterverse went crazy. So Jack relented. Sort of.
While an individual tweet is still limited to 140 characters, Twitter has redefined what counts as a character. So while everything might still look/feel the same, you actually have quite a bit more room to get your thoughts out in a tweet these days than in the Twitter of old.
Many of these changes happened below the radar of the non-avid Twitter user. So I thought it would be a good time for a round-up.
Twitter is changing all the time. If I missed any new functionalities, let me know. I’d love to add them to my list.
A GIF, or a Graphics Interchange Format, is a short clip of a video or an animation set to repeat itself on an endless loop.
Twitter now has a built in GIF library. If you haven’t played with yours yet, you are missing out on some serious storytelling fun! Why type “Sad!” when you can demonstrate it in a fun video format.
To access the library, open up Twitter and start composing a new tweet. Then simply click on the GIF icon.
This will work on your computer, your tablet or your smartphone.
Twitter will automatically populate a wide-array of GIF emotions to search through.
Click on the appropriate emotion and scroll through the many, many options. Or, search for the emotion/concept of your choice.
Once you have the perfect GIF, select it and it will be added as media to your tweet.
And per the theme of this post — it will not count against your character count!
Please note though, you cannot add a GIF to a tweet containing any other media, or as part of a Quote Tweet (more on Quote Tweets below).
Another fun option, built write into your tweet, is the ability to conduct a poll.
Once you have selected the option, you can input a series of “answers” to whatever question you choose to pose in your tweet.
The default (and minimum option) is two “choices,” but click "+ Add a choice" and you can tack on a third or even a fourth.
When this fun tool was first rolled out, the only setting was for your poll to last for one day. But now, you can set your own length, ranging from 5 minutes to 7 days. To do that, just click on the poll length’s default “1 day” and set your desired length.
Obviously, since it’s on this list, a poll doesn’t count against your Tweet’s character count.
If someone takes your poll, they will see the breakdown of votes by percentage. Voting is anonymous. You won’t know who took your poll, nor will anyone else. But it is a fun way to engage your audience and let them tell you directly what they think about any given question.
Quick note: each “choice” is limited to 25 characters. Prepare accordingly. Also, like GIFs, you can’t insert a poll into a Quote Tweet or a tweet with media.
Once upon a time, every character in a link counted towards your character count. Obviously, this was extremely problematic — some links themselves are more than 140 characters!
The original solution to this problem was the link shortener. bit.ly is the most famous, but there are others.
Twitter eventually realized how untenable it was to have a platform that had become synonymous with news, forcing users to employ workarounds in order to share most news articles. So while you weren’t looking, they changed the way they count link characters.
Whether it’s 12 characters or 1200 (eek — that would be quite a long url), all links now count as 23 characters. So keep bit.ly bookmarked for some of its other fun features. But never again waste time shortening a link just to save space. Twitter has got you covered.
Just like GIFs and polls don’t count against your character limit, pictures and videos are likewise exempted from your count. You can add up to four pictures to any tweet that isn’t a Quote Tweet.
Use your pictures to help tell you story.
But don’t just tweet pictures. Be sure to always tell your audience why you are tweeting them. It should be easy when you still have ALL of your precious 140 of your characters to play with!
4b) Tagging People
Most regular Twitter users know that they can add pictures to a tweet (although I’m not sure how many realize their picture(s) aren't counting against their character count).
This is a tool however that I’ve found few people are aware of. And if they are, I find many don't truly appreciate its power.
When you add a picture (or 2, 3 or 4), you can “tag” people who are in the picture. I put tag in quotes because they don’t actually have to be in the photo for you to tag them.
To do so is simple: after you add your picture, click “Who’s in this photo?”
You can then search for any Twitter user by name or handle and tag them in your photo. It’s important to note that you can’t differentiate which picture a particular user is in — you can just tag them in your pictures, generally. But the coolest part about this: you can add up to ten users to any tweet! That should help you save you a whole lot of space since now you don’t have to write out all those handles within your tweet in order to tag them.
Quick note: some users have privacy settings that won’t allow them to be tagged in pictures. You can still tag them in your tweet, you just can’t tag them in your picture.
5) Quote Tweets
I mentioned this concept earlier, with the promise to cover it shortly. This is a fun one.
Once upon a time, if you wanted to retweet something, you had to do it sort of manually. You would take the tweet's content, add an RT before it and then send it to your users. This was problematic for numerous reasons, the biggest being tweet length. If a tweet was already 140 characters you couldn’t add an RT. And even if there were three characters to spare, you might not be able to add in the original sender’s handle. That led to awkward MTs, or modified tweets (if you don’t know this acronym, here's a bunch more you also might not yet know), where you retweeted an edited version of what someone else had already said. You could modify for length, content or accuracy, but whatever your reason, it certainly complicated the heart of the RT.
So Twitter adapted. They changed the way RTs work. You still occasionally see old school RTs, but it’s rare.
Then Twitter added the Quote Tweet.
When you go to retweet on your tablet or your smartphone, you’ll see be asked if you want to Retweet or Quote Tweet. Or your computer, you’ll have the option to Retweet, or to “Add a comment…”
You can add a full 140 characters to your Quote Tweet. This can be a great tool to save space. If someone tweeted something and you want to expand on it, you don’t need to start with an explanation. You can even Quote Tweet one of your own tweets, in order to continue a thought. Quote Tweets are a great tool for building out longer thoughts. Take advantage of them!
Similar to Quote Tweets, Twitter changed the way that replies work. It used to be that when you hit reply, Twitter automatically added the handle of the person who sent the original tweet, as well as any other handle tagged within.
But Twitter realized that people were struggling with what came to be known as “tipping canoes:” Twitter conversations that were so full of handles that there was no place left to actually add your thoughts.
So now when you hit reply, the original sender and all tagged handles will still automatically be tagged in your response, but they will be tagged outside of your actual tweet. Meaning you can respond to one handle, or a big group, without worrying about tipping that Twitter canoe.
So let’s say that instead of Quote Tweeting a response to @BarackObama, I replied to him.
I still have all 140 characters for my response.
Likewise, if I reply to @JimmyKimmel while he is thanking @SenatorCollins for doing the right thing on healthcare, they will both be tagged without taking away from my character count.
If you want to remove someone from your tags, just clicks on the list of names and you can deselect as you desire.
But note, you can’t deselect the original sender’s handle. You are stuck with them. Don’t want to mention them? Then maybe don't reply to their tweet!
Bonus) Thread Tweets
Okay, that is six ways that Twitter now offers for us to get more of each and every tweet.
But the Twitterverse still wasn’t satisfied and they are notorious for finding clever workarounds to problems that bother them.
Sometimes what you have to say won’t fit into 140 characters, no matter how many other tools you have at your disposal. At that point, you can thread together your tweets to tell a longer story.
Anytime you reply to a tweet, from anyone including yourself, Twitter will connect those two tweets with a blue line.
So if you have a longer story to tell, break it up into tweetable chunks and then share it, one piece at a time. But be careful — they have to be in the right order, or they will be impossible to follow.
To do this is simple: send your first tweet. Then reply to it. Then reply to that one. Then that one. And so on.
FYI — Threading tweets like this is sometimes referred to as a Tweet Storm.
There are many different ways people choose to differentiate a tweet from a threaded tweet. After all, your followers won’t know there’s more to come if you don’t tell them.
The most common approaches are as follows:
So that’s six new(ish) ways to get more of your tweets and a bonus user hack you should know about.
Do you have any additional tips or tricks you've found to get more out of Twitter? Respond in the comments and/or share them with me on Twitter. I want to hear from you!
Want to learn more about any of the above concepts, or anything else about this often-perplexing platform? Book a class today to become a Super Twitterer.
On Friday night, I went to see a Grammy winning bluegrass legend wow his crowd with songs spanning his 40+ year career.
Because I’m both a bluegrass nerd and a social media nerd, I streamed one of his songs via Facebook Live.
It was late on a weekend night and it didn’t get a lot of views in real time. But over the next 36 hours or so, it was watched a few dozen times. (And now I can go back and rewatch the band anytime I want on my personal Facebook page!) But truth be told, by Sunday night, I wasn’t thinking about the video anymore than I was about the drive to and from the show.
But then Monday morning, something interesting happened — my video was “liked” by the bluegrass legend it featured.
Now let’s be clear: I don’t think that this artist liked the post himself (although he might have). More likely it was a member of his marketing or management team.
But the notification that he had liked my video popped up, and I have to be honest — I got excited. Like, more excited than I probably should have.
I work in social media for a living. I know how this works. I know he probably has some marketing agency liking positive mentions of him online. But you know what: it still got its intended effect out of me!
Having him like my video felt like getting a high five or a quick hello from a bluegrass legend.
Does that handshake mean that we are suddenly best friends? Of course not.
Does it mean I can suddenly shred on the mandolin like he can? I wish!
Am I still excited enough that I immediately want to tell all my friends about it? Yup.
Liking that post cost him literally nothing (save for whatever he’s paying his agency to manage his social media—but that’s a story for another post). Yet it added to my excitement about the show.
Social media serves many roles, not least of which is customer service and community relations.
Think about yourself as a movie star. When you walk down the street, people recognize you. You can't stop and have lunch with every fan. You can’t even stop and take a picture with them all or you’d never get anywhere. But you can nod and smile to everyone who waves at you.
That’s what a "like" or a "favorite" is on social media — it’s a head nod from a celebrity. It doesn’t suddenly make you best friends or ensure that they will buy your product/go see your next movie/buy your upcoming album. But it shows the fans that you are real, and that you respect them as people, not just as consumers. And it only takes as much time to create that connection as you need to give a single click of your mouse or tap on your phone.
If you see a celebrity on the street, and you wave at them, you are going to tell your friends one of two stories:
“Oh my goodness, I just say this famous person on State Street. It was so cool!”
*** OR ***
“I just saw this famous person on State Street. He was kind of a jerk.”
You’re the celebrity. Which would you prefer?
Yesterday, Donald Trump Jr. tweeted this:
The backlash was quick and it was fierce. A particularly good response (one of thousands) came from Jon Favreau, who used to work for President Obama.
And on the other end of the spectrum, here’s one from @darth:
It’s worth noting that as offensive as Trump Jr.’s tweet was, it wasn’t even an original idea.
When Ben Carson was running for president, he often used a similar analogy to justify his opposition to accepting Syrian refugees, except he substituted Skittles with rabid dogs.
Mike Huckabee, during his run for president, used peanuts. Others have replaced Skittles with M&Ms or grapes.
Former Congressman Joe Walsh—who you might remember as the guy who threatened President Obama in the aftermath of this summer’s shooting in Dallas—was offended by the tweet, but only because he didn’t get an h/t.
Suffice to say, it’s not a new argument.
Now imagine you are Skittles (the brand), and suddenly—inexplicably—you find yourself trending on social media. What’s your response?
Really think about what you would do. A massive, household name is being equated with poison and refugees and xenophobia. Do you attempt to “capitalize” on the situation, ensuring the world that every Skittle in the bowl is good and poison-free? Do you try to be funny, serious, irreverent, angry… On a situation like this one, you could ask a hundred branding experts, and they would all probably have a different idea.
And yet, Skittles managed a perfect response. Here it is in its entirety:
Skittles are candy. Refugees are people. We don’t feel like it’s an appropriate analogy. We will respectfully refrain from further commentary as anything we say could be misinterpreted as marketing.
In 30 words, they clarified that they are offended by the comparison, that they don’t agree with it, and that they would now be shutting the hell up.
In fact, despite the fact that they are a brand with a vibrant social media presence, their Facebook and Twitter accounts have gone completely radio-silent since this controversy erupted yesterday.
Here is the lesson for brands: don’t see every mention of your brand as an opportunity to raise sales or increase market share. You can’t capitalize on tragedy; trying typically raises your profile in ways you don’t want and associates you with a story which you probably don’t want to be a part of.
It’s so easy to see how this could have gone wrong for Skittles. Instead, they came out the heroes in the story. Or, at the very least, not one of the villains.
The bowl of Skittles in the picture that Trump Jr. tweeted was used without attribution. And much richer than that: the photographer was once a refugee himself!
Want to read more great responses to this awful tweet. Here are 21 you are sure to appreciate. Did you see any others in the Twitterverse that aren’t on this list? Tweet them at us or share them in the comments.
FedEx has one of marketing's most recognizable logos. It's simple: take the first syllable of each word in their name. Federal Express becomes Fed Ex. Smash them together. Put them in the proper font. And voila: you have a well-known brand.
But FedEx has long used color to differentiate which branch of their business their logo is representing.
You probably think of their logo being an iconic purple and orange:
But that’s only one of their many color patterns.
That orange is also often replaced by a litany of other colors.
What many people don’t realize—even if they've noticed the differentiating palette—is that each of these different colors has a completely different meaning.
Orange is their standard express delivery service.
Grey covers their supply chain services.
Green is ground and home delivery.
Red is freight.
Blue is “custom critical.”
Yellow is trade networks.
Believe it or not, that’s not even all of them.
But most casual observers, never realized there was more than one color option, much less that each color had its own unique significance.
Don’t worry about working out mnemonic memory devices for each pattern though. FedEx realized that no one knew the difference -- or cared. So they're officially retiring all of their logo colors save for the standard purple and orange.
As long as we’re talking about the FedEx logo though, here’s one cool component that definitely won’t change: the arrow within.
If you know it’s there, you see it every time you look at the logo. If not, you’ll be amazed what you’ve been missing.
Check this out:
See it now?
IT WAS RIGHT THERE THE WHOLE TIME!
Hard to imagine, right?
It gets cooler still. Check out their logo in Arabic:
It points in the opposite direction and is written with a different alphabet, but it still contains that (missed-by-most, but loved-by-those-who-notice-it) arrow letting the user know it’s the same brand they can trust to get their package from point A to point B.
Who knew there was so much to such a simple logo?!
Do you have any favorite logos hiding secrets within? Share them in the comments.
Looking for more social media tips, tricks, strategies and hacks?
Check out my podcast Step Up Your Social. All episodes are short (~10 minutes or so) and provide quick, actionable tips to help you step up your digital marketing.
Tune in today.
Facebook is nothing if not dynamic. Understand how part of its functionality works today, and tomorrow you’ll notice that it’s changed. A week later, it may have changed yet again.
The goal shouldn’t be to KNOW everything about how the platform works, rather to spend enough time with it that you know how to grow and adapt with it.
Recently, Facebook made a change to how it displays a brand’s response time and it added an option to send instant replies to messages you receive through your Facebook page.
Both concepts are easy, and worth taking a moment to understand.
The Change: Response Time
Until very recently, Facebook published to your page how long it takes you to respond to messages you receive through your brand page. It might say a few minutes, an hour or a day. It also publishes your response rate.
Pro-tip: Even if you are going to respond to someone through another medium (phone, email...), respond to their initial message to let them know. For example: “Thanks for writing, I’m calling now.” It’s quick, easy, not at all awkward, and it allows you to maintain a 100% response rate on your page even when communicating through other methods.
While Facebook still publishes your response rate, they made a major shift regarding your response time. It used to be something you couldn’t edit or control (save for responding quicker to messages in the future). It was a report for your customers on the speediness of your response time. No more. Now, it is a tool that allows you to let people know how long they should expect you to take to return their message.
If you have someone working on your social media full-time, it should take you less than an hour. Or maybe even just a few minutes. Let people know that. But if it’s just you and Facebook is one of 1000 things you are managing, you can now let people know that it might take you a day to respond.
The set up is easy.
Go to your Facebook brand page. Directly below your avatar, you will notice a section that shares things like how many followers you have, how many have checked in with you and the like. The very first thing in that section will be your response rate and your response time.
To edit it, go to your page's Settings (located in top right hand corner of your page). Then click on Messaging in the left-hand menu.
From here, simply pick your (reasonable) time frame.
Pro tip: Be honest here, both for your own sake and for that of your customer. If it’s going to take you a day to respond, don’t say you will respond within an hour. Set up expectations that you can meet, and then work hard to meet them.
So that is the change Facebook made. But they also recently made a fairly substantial addition to their brand messenger.
The New Option: Instant Replies
You can now set up Instant Replies that will automatically be sent to anyone who writes to your brand through Facebook.
Let’s say you rarely check your Facebook messages, but you live in Gmail. Send an instant reply telling people that you’ll be in touch soon, but if they want a quicker response, they should email you as well. Or provide a phone number they can call. Or let them know you will be in touch, and send them to your website to shop/learn/take action in the meantime.
We can’t control how people choose to reach out to us. But with this new functionality, we have yet another tool in our toolkit to ensure happy customers and seamless customer service.
Not sure what to put in your Instant Reply? Drop me a line and let's figure it out together!
The wait is over! It’s now officially as easy to switch between Instagram accounts on your mobile device as it is to switch between Twitter accounts.
For those of you who run only a single account, this won’t change your interaction with the platform. But if you have a personal account, and you also run one for your business, non-profit, band, microbrewery or anything else, this is the time to get excited.
Until now, you had to log out of one account and login to another to switch back and forth. Tracking down passwords and taking the extra time to move around pretty much guaranteed that whatever account was your primary, stayed your primary.
Instagram heard our frustration and they have—finally!—acquiesced. Switching between accounts is now easy.
Open up the app. In the top right corner, you will see a gear. Click it.
Scroll down to the bottom of the list and click on “Add Account.”
Login with your second account.
Now, you can simple toggle between the accounts. Go to your homepage (bottom right icon showing your avatar). At the top of that page, you will see your username, followed by a ٧.
Click it and you will see a list of all accounts you are logged into. You can now toggle back and forth to your heart’s desire. That's it--now enjoy!
Quick note: You can repeat this process with numerous accounts.
While many businesses and organizations see social media as a burden—just one more to thing to deal with—a smart digital strategy can help a brand not just tell its story to new supporters (customers, clients, donors, fans...) it can build relationships and create advocates from within its supporter base.
At its best, social media can be utilized to build a movement by:
From simple best practices to detailed strategic concepts, this presentation lays out a path to empower your supporters and strengthen your brand’s reach and engagement through social media.
I will be giving this presentation at Social Media Breakfast Madison's upcoming event on February 17th. Learn more about this volunteer-run non-profit organization with a focus on social media and reserve your free tickets today.
I gave this presentation at Madison Nonprofit Day. Here is what the Alnisa Allgood, the events creator, had to say:
"Josh is an engaging and dynamic speaker / trainer. He presented a workshop for our annual nonprofit / social good conference— the Madison Nonprofit Day Conference. His workshop, "Using Social Media to Build a Movement" was very well received. The audience loved him. He received top scores in both presentation style and workshop structure.
On Thursday night, Jeb Bush held a town hall in New Hampshire—a must win state for his struggling campaign. Looking at the pictures, it’s clear he packed the room. He proudly took to Twitter to report that the crowd was “400 strong.” Respectable turnout, no doubt about it.
Just a few hours away in Vermont however, Donald Trump was holding a much-publicized, much-covered rally. Despite the room having a capacity of 1400, his campaign distributed over 20,000 tickets. According to Trump’s Twitter account, they “could only get a fraction of this 25k crowd in.”
So on the same night, there were two events in two neighboring states. Both campaigns tweeted out recaps of their respective successes.
But here’s the thing: Jeb Bush could have said “we were standing room only in Peterborough last night.” He could have said “full house in NH.” He could have skipped describing the size of the of the crowd altogether—he had great photos to tell that story!—and spoken instead about how awesome his event was.
But he didn’t. Instead, he told the world that his event was “400 strong.”
Now 400 people is a lot of people. A LOT... for a local band. Or a high school soccer game. Or for a Rick Santorum rally*. But it’s really not all that impressive for a presidential candidate with a $100 million war chest and the resources that Bush has at his disposal.
And it REALLY doesn’t seem like that much when you see Trump bragging about his YUUUUGE numbers from right down the road.
What’s the point?
You can brag about turnout without mentioning numbers.
Had Jeb left it at “full house” or “standing room only”, we could have imagined the size of the event and been impressed that he filled the room. Instead, he gave us a number. Compared to Trump’s, it just seems paltry.
If your numbers are extraordinary, you might consider sharing them. Otherwise, just talk about the quality of your crowd and the substance of your event and don’t get caught up reporting on quantity. There’s little potential gain and a decent amount of potential risk.
*Feel free to substitute Santorum with the undercard candidate of your choice.
Yesterday, I wrote a blog post about the fact that I’m nearing 1000 followers on Twitter (!!!). After writing the post, I started sharing it through social media. While posting it to Facebook, I chose to run it with three pictures. The first was the graphic I had made, proclaiming this exciting achievement. The second was a Twitter logo. The third was my own logo.
I linked the graphic (the first pic) and my logo directly to my blog post, outlining both the announcement and the free audits I was giving out to celebrate. But I also wanted a way to drive traffic straight to my Twitter page. That’s where the second pic comes in.
Let’s walk through this.
When you input a link into a Facebook post, Facebook will automatically go and scrape any pictures it can find on the page you are sharing and auto-populate them in your post. You can then run your post with all of them, some of them, or none of them. Generally speaking, you always want to leave one (or more) of these pics in place, or replace them correctly (more on this in a minute). By doing so, you ensure that a click on the picture will lead—not to an enlarged version of the picture, but—directly to the site you are linking. If your goal is link clicks, ensure that as many actions as possible deliver that result.
So let’s start at the top. Copy the link you want to share and paste it into your Facebook page. If possible, Facebook will populate one or more graphics to accompany your post.
Notice underneath the post, there will be several thumbnails, with small numbers in blue boxes in the top right corner.
By clicking the blue boxes, you can turn on and off these different pictures. Any picture with a number will show up in your post. You can also rearrange the order in which they are shown by simply dragging them into the order you prefer.
Notice the right-most box with the plus (+) in it? THAT is how you should add additional or replacement pictures to your post. Adding them in any other (and there are several) will sever the relationship between your picture and your link. Which is bad, unless that is your goal. (But if it is, why are you using a link in the post in the first place?!)
You can post up to five pictures with your post. These can be things Facebook pulls from the link, pictures you add in, or some combination therein. Unless you specify otherwise, all of those pictures, when clicked on, will lead to your original link.
But if you want each picture to lead to a different landing page, you can do that as well. And setting that up is easy.
First, choose which pics you want to be associated with the post. Then scroll over the picture (not the thumbnail) and you will notice a link icon appears.
When you click that link button, you will get a popup box:
From there, you can input any link you want. You can do that for each picture associated with your post. They each stand alone.
So check out the post I shared yesterday and try clicking around. You’ll notice that the first and third images take you to my blog post and the second image (the Twitter icon) will take you straight to my Twitter page.
Let me know if you need any help. Or share your own success stories using multiple links in a Facebook post.
Looking for more social media tips, tricks, strategies and hacks?
Check out my podcast Step Up Your Social. All episodes are short (~10 minutes or so) and provide quick, actionable tips to help you step up your digital marketing.
Tune in today.
I don't know you. But I want to!
If you use Twitter as a way to communicate with clients, potential clients, supporters or fans, you want to make it as easy as possible for people to contact you on through the platform. Anyone can always tweet at you, but sometimes people want to share something privately (good, bad or otherwise). That is where Direct Messages (DMs) come into play.
Your account can be set up so that you can only receive DMs from people who you follow AND who follow you. But that means that if you are an organization or a business, and someone wants to reach out to you privately--if you don’t follow them on Twitter, they won't be able to do so.
Good news: It's an easy fix!
First, let's check your current status. To do this, simply go to your Twitter Settings:
Then go to the "Security and privacy" tab:
Once there, scroll all the way to the bottom and ensure that you have toggled on “Receive Direct Messages from Anyone.”
There are countless tools and sites out there to help optimize your social media presence. I want to share one that offers a great solution to a very common problem.
How often have you logged onto Twitter and seen people in your feed posting links to their Instagram pics? Probably pretty often. And how often have you actually clicked through to see those pictures? Probably a lot less often, right?
Fair enough. Who wants to click a link to see if the content is worth exploring?
Wouldn’t it be nice if, without any extra work, you could post your actual Instagram pictures (as opposed to links to those awesome pictures) directly to Twitter, just like you can post them directly to Facebook? You can! And it’s easy. Let me explain.
Why post to Instagram at all?
You could post your pictures directly to Twitter, skipping over Instagram outright. But Instagram has amazing filters and very engaged audiences. The goal isn’t to minimize networks—rather it’s to minimize the amount of work it takes you to positively engage with multiple networks.
Instagram is owned by Facebook, posting there directly is as easy as hitting share. But when you try to cross-post to Twitter, they only tweet out a link. They are seeking to drive your followers away from Twitter and to Instagram. Which might be good for them. But it’s not good for you.
It’s simple. Set up an account with “If This, Then That.” (www.IFTTT.com) Once you have an account, you can set up all kinds of cool tools (they call them recipes).
Clearly, there’s plenty you can do with this site. But to solve this particular problem: sign up, set up a recipe so that IF you post a picture to Instagram, THEN it will share it to Twitter. You can search around in their “Recommended Recipes” or just follow this link.
Give IFTTT access to both your Instagram and Twitter accounts and confirm the recipe. Then anytime you post a picture to Instagram, it will automatically tweet out the same picture to your Twitter network. With no additional work, you will reach twice as many networks! (3x if you are already sharing directly from Instagram to Facebook.)
Now instead of your feed looking like this:
It will look like this:
Which do you think are going to get higher engagement rates?
Let me know if you need help setting up your recipes. Happy sharing!
Carly Fiorina, ousted head of HP and defeated 2010 senate candidate, is running for the GOP nomination for President.
Things were going very slowly for her throughout the summer. She was relegated to the “kiddie stage” for the first GOP debate. She accepted her placement and the general consensus was that she shined. She began to get noticed for the first time throughout her campaign.
By the second round of debates, she had risen in the polls and she managed to score a big victory by being the only candidate to move up from the kiddie debate to primetime.
She was again widely praised for her performance in debate #2. The highlight of the evening for her was when she took on Planned Parenthood over some tapes that had just been released. She made an impassioned pro-life plea and quickly shot up in the polls.
The problem was, the highlight was based on factually incorrect information. She claimed that the videos showed things that didn’t exist—objectively didn’t exist . No media bias, no difference of opinions, she simply created a scene and spoke about it in great detail (or possibly, confused a different video with the one she was referencing).
While her rise was meteoric, her fall was pretty much just as quick. She built her reputation on something verifiably false. Every story that followed was not about her or her ideas, but about that falsehood.
It was a good play based on a shoddy foundation and she ultimately fell right through the bottom. Post debate, she was polling at 15%, putting her in second place. Today, heading into the third GOP debate, she is at 4%.
Her Truthiness Problem is Bigger Than That One Debate Statement
Fiorina has a general problem with telling the truth, even when the fact-checkers have done their fact-checking. Mother Jones just published a story called “Carly Fiorina’s Fact-Defying Stump Speech,” outlining all of the outright falsehoods she has made a regular part of her speeches.
The problem is, every enticing story or juicy statistic she tells is sure to impress the people in the room. But candidates, like businesses, organizations or anyone else, can no longer live just in the room. The press is listening, social media is watching and the fact-checkers never sleep.
While making up facts and statistics may help a candidate—or brand—get noticed, the story will ultimately be not about the candidate but about the falsehoods. And that is always a recipe for disaster.
It is far better to win over voters—or customers/supporters/fans—slowly with honesty, than quickly without merit. Their support may be harder to gain, but it will be worth something once you have earned it.
Tonight is GOP debate #3—we’ll see if Fiorina has learned her lesson. Based on her current stump speech, I’m thinking the answer is no.
Today is the day Marty McFly traveled to in Back to the Future II. #BackToTheFuture is trending on Twitter and Facebook. Several GOP presidential hopefuls (Carly Fiorina and Senator Marco Rubio) released ads based on the sci-fi comedy classic. And plenty of brands are trying to make sure that their products are part of the story.
Here are a few highlights from the day thus far:
Recently I went into Madison Sourdough (on Willy St. on the Near East side). Great restaurant, amazing bread (obviously!).
For those who haven’t been, it’s a pretty simple ordering process: you walk in, order at the counter, get a table number and then they bring your food to you. Nothing novel or groundbreaking.
But their table number got me thinking about how a business can use (or fail to use) all of their available real estate.
Here was my number:
Many restaurants would simply hand out a sign with the number on it. What a waste of valuable real estate that would have been!
Rather than simply serving as a function of the ordering process, this placard worked to both inform me that Madison Sourdough is online (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest) and to encourage me to post about them using the hashtag #MadisonSourdough.
Many customers are going to automatically post pictures of their meal online anyway. You might as well make it easy for those happy customers to give credit to the restaurant. And for those who might not have thought to snap a picture of their lunch and put it online, you get a chance to offer a little nudge in the social media direction.
So here’s a question: what real estate is your business/organization utilizing? And more importantly, which opportunities are you missing?
People are going to post about you and your brand regardless, you might as well be working with them.
Do you own a business? Work in sales? Have a cause for which you want people to volunteer or give money? Maybe you are in a band or have an upcoming art show? If there is any capacity in your life that involves sharing what you do with others, then you need to develop an elevator pitch.
But what is an elevator pitch?
Let’s say you are asking people to volunteer for your organization. You bump into a friend/colleague/stranger on the street and the subject comes up. You have to make the ask, or they are certainly not going to give up THEIR Sunday afternoon to help you with YOUR cause. If the two of you wind up going to lunch together, or even coffee, then you have all the time in the world to walk through the organization you work with, the benefits of volunteering, how important their contribution will be... But 9 times out of 10 (or even 99 times out of 100), you don’t get to make your ask while waiting for a table. Most of the time, you have to make your ask while you are waiting for the light to change, or as someone is hopping into a cab, or in the time you share together in an elevator.
An elevator pitch is your opportunity to sell yourself, and your cause, to another person in the length of time that you might spend together in an elevator. A good elevator pitch is generally considered to be no more than 30 seconds.
But my ask is so much more complicated than I could possibly sum up in 30 seconds!
That might be true, but at the moment, your cause only matters to you. You don’t get 15 minutes to convert, you get 30 seconds.
Let’s imagine you are trying to explain a difficult concept to someone. You believe this concept to be EXTREMELY important. They have never heard of it and are not necessarily interested in learning about it. Are you going to hand that person a book on the subject? Or a pamphlet? The 1% of people who might be willing to read the book will surely become experts on the subject. But for everyone else, you will be lucky to get them to flip the pamphlet over before tossing it in the trash. You need to make your message simple, concise and extremely easy to digest.
Assuming that you can capture someone's attention in your allotted 30 seconds, then you might get a chance to expand on the subject. The goal of an elevator pitch is not to cram as much information in it as possible, it is to ensure that you get them wanting to learn more.
Whether it’s a client, a potential investor, a friend or even a stranger on the street, your elevator pitch should end with you offering them your business card. If they offer theirs in return, even better. Make sure and follow up!
But I don’t have a business card!
Why not?! Business cards are cheap, easy to get and extremely important. They show the receiver that you take yourself seriously.
So how do I create an elevator pitch?
First of all, elevator pitches are not going to write themselves, flawlessly and in the moment. You should practice yours. Ask a friend or colleague to listen and critique. Recite it in front of the mirror if you have to! Just get used to sharing your pitch on a moment’s notice. If it takes you 15 seconds to collect your thoughts, you just lost half your allotted time!
When crafting it, try making a list of your bullet points.
If someone is properly engaged, you may have time to delve deeper into any one of your main points. The most important thing is that they walk away knowing that your company guarantees satisfaction. Or that you just won ethical salesman of the year. Or that your band was recently nominated for a Grammy.
Is that all?
Having a good elevator pitch does not guarantee success in your ask. But not having one all but ensures disappointment. So get to work.
Need help telling your story? Let's chat.
This is a current Dr. Pepper display, in the entranceway at the Hy-Vee on East Washington Ave.
Simply using cases of Dr. Pepper (red) set against cases of Diet Dr. Pepper (white), they found a really creative way to show their Wisconsin pride.
They didn't need special bottling or a massive banner; they simply incorporated their own message (love of Wisco) into their regular display.
A sign declaring that "Hy-Vee loves Wisconsin" would certainly have come across as pandering.
But it's hard to imagine this display creating anything but positive impressions. Where most would have simply stacked their cases, Hy-Vee saw an opportunity.
Striking the balance between inauthentic and genuine is the hardest—and most important—thing that any brand will grapple with. What are some ways you incorporate your story into your displays? How do you navigate the path between authentic and contrived? Share in the comments, on Facebook or on Twitter.
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