I always say that the only constant in social media is change. I don’t write to tell you every time any little thing changes on a social channel — if I did you’d hear from me literally dozens of times per week. But not every update is worthy of a blog post or an email.
Recently though, a few exciting updates have rolled out that are worth sharing.
You can now “follow” a hashtag on Instagram, just like you would follow an account.
Once you follow a hashtag, Instagram will include top posts using it directly into your feed.
To follow a hashtag, simply search for it on Instagram.
Then click “follow.”
Then you will start seeing relevant content showing up in your feed.
I'm very excited about this update, although it’s a bit hard to follow Twitter’s logic. They recently doubled the character length for tweets from 140-280, thus making threads, and therefore this update, much less relevant. But they're not irrelevant, so it’s still an exciting update.
If you aren’t familiar with the concept of threads, check out this blog post where I explain what they are and how they work (along with a bunch of other fun Twitter tricks and tips).
Before, when you created a tweet thread, you had to keep responding to previous tweets. Which is fine, but can be clunky. If you don't reply to the most recent tweet in your thread, they get out of order and your thread becomes hard to follow. It can take a few moments for your tweet to post, meaning you have to sit tight with your thoughts, waiting for it to catch up.
Now if you want to create a tweet thread, simply start typing your tweet. Below, next to the “tweet” button, you will see a plus. Click it and Twitter will open up another tweet for you. Keep going until you are finished and then you can send them all as a single unit.
BIG IMPROVEMENT, even if it's a little less relevant that it might have been a few months ago.
Facebook Stories aren’t new, but they have pretty much been getting ignored. Stories were Facebook’s response to Snapchat. They are small pieces of content — pictures, short videos or text — that disappear after 24 hours.
They have all the fun Snapchat-style filters built in, along with a lot of other fun tools. Spend a few minutes in there and you will find tons of fun toys. And they are updated regularly.
While Stories aren't new, what is new is that they are now available to Brand Pages. (Until recently, only personal pages could create Stories.)
To access Facebook Stories for a Brand Page, you can use the new Facebook Creator app. Or, open the Facebook app on your phone or tablet (currently, Stories only work via mobile), and go to your Brand Page. Underneath where you it lets you “write something,” click “create story.”
Once you have finished creating your tiny, disappearing masterpiece, add it to your Story.
Then anyone who likes your page will see it at the top of their Facebook page anytime they login for the next 24 hours. It’s a great way to get in front of your audience and to cut through the clutter of the newsfeed.
Quick note: you can also use Stories for Groups, and Events for which you have said you are attending. The Event feature in particular has the potential to be huge, in my opinion. Once people start using them, it will give everyone at a party, a concert, an event, etc. a way to create content and see what everyone around them is doing in real time. The engagement possibilities for that one are HUGE!
Those are the three social media updates I’m most excited about at the moment. Your turn — any to add?
Social media moves fast. You need a good strategy, but also countless cute/clever/funny/helpful/interesting pieces of content day in and day out to make it work. If you are doing it regularly, you are going to occasionally make mistakes.
The majority of the time, you will notice your error before anyone else does and you can delete your tweet or edit your post. Sometimes though, the only option is a response.
In preparation for Black Friday, McDonald’s sent the following tweet into the world:
This wasn’t a typo or someone hitting send too fast. This was someone copy and pasting a note from an internal document, throwing it into Twitter or a third party scheduler, and letting it fly.
They didn’t even wait until Black Friday to send it — the tweet went live on Thanksgiving.
Now if you run a small business or manage your band or nonprofit’s social media account, you could simply delete this tweet. If you’re a behemoth like McDonald’s, not so much.
You do have a few options though. You can:
McDonald’s went with option four, tweeting this the following morning:
While the follow up tweet didn’t get nearly as many retweets or likes as the original tweet, it did appease the internet, which is always hungry for a social media scandal.
You need look no further than the responses to see that the follow up fully appeased the Twitterverse. This time.
But user beware: if you or your team require coffee to start the day, then by all means, have it on hand! If you are McDonald’s that really shouldn’t be a problem. 🙄 🙄 🙄
When Facebook Live first came out, I’ll admit it — I was daunted.
I’m supposed to go to stream live to the world without the opportunity for a second take? Ummm, no thanks!
I had to worry about sound, lighting, my "script," distractions in the background... It was daunting.
But here’s the thing — Facebook Live is a hugely important tool in your digital toolkit. I regularly work with clients who go Live on Facebook for the first time and find that their videos reach more people that like their page! (300% reach — yes please!!!)
We know that people watch Live videos 3x longer than videos that aren’t live. And that they engage with them 10x more than regular videos!
So yeah, apprehension aside — Facebook Live videos get people watching and engaging.
Before I ever went Live on Facebook for the world to see, I came up with a hack that allowed me to ease my way into the otherwise scary world of live streaming.
And here’s the thing: It’s so simple, you’re going to laugh.
Before going Live for an audience via my brand page, I went Live via my personal page with my privacy settings adjusted to “Only me.”
This meant I could practice being on camera, see how the video looked on my computer, hear the sound, play with the awesome built-in filters, and a whole lot else, knowing that I’d be the only to see my first take.
So here’s the step-by-step breakdown.
Open up Facebook on your smartphone. Where you would say "What's on your mind, choose "Live."
If that option isn't there, then just click into the post and then click on the camera icon below.
You will then get a list of options. Choose "Live Video."
Once you have done that, directly underneath your name, you will see a dropdown menu that has likely defaulted to either “Public” or Friends.”
Click on it and you will get a list of privacy setting options.
Select "Only me."
Now when you go live, the only person who can see your video is you.
When you are finished going live, instead of publishing it to your page, just delete it. Or publish it to your page (if you want to play around with any of the settings) and you can delete it later, comfortable with the knowledge that your video only had an audience of one (you!).
I hope this hack helps you get over the initial hurdle of going Live. It really is a powerful tool and I highly recommend you experiment with it as you are telling your digital story.
Want more tips on getting started with Facebook Live. I wrote up a helpful checklist, full of things to consider before, during and after your broadcast.
I use my iPhone for so many things. It's my calendar, address book, camera, alarm clock, GPS, calculator, radio... The list goes on and on.
It's just so convenient. It's always with me, so why not take advantage of all of its massive capabilities.
One way that I use my iPhone is as a notepad. I used to be a paper guy (and in some ways, I still am). But I don't always have a notebook around. And I ALWAYS have my phone handy.
Needless to say, I use iPhone Notes for all kinds of things: shopping lists, to-do lists, idea trackers, movie/book/music suggestions... If I need to remember something, that's most likely where's its going.
One day, I was trying to copy and paste something from my notepad. I accidentally selected and deleted the entire note. Month's worths of reminders, ideas and lists were suddenly gone. It wasn't until that panic-stricken moment that I suddenly realized -- iPhones don't have undo buttons. 😱
But fret not -- while there is no undo button on an iPhone, there IS a way to access this important feature.
The simple (hilarious?) solution: shake your phone.
That's right, make Taylor Swift (or is it André 3000) proud and give your phone a little shake.
When you do, a box will pop-up asking if you'd like to "Undo Typing."
Click "undo," and just like CTRL+Z on your computer, your most recent activity will be undone.
Undo something prematurely or by accident? Fret not, just shake your phone again and it will give you the option to "Redo Typing."
It works with text in every application (that I've tested to date). It also will recover pictures/files/emails in some applications. Though not all. So delete and edit carefully.
Let me know if you find any other great uses for your iPhone's hidden undo feature.
Have any fun iPhone tips to share? I'm always on the lookout for additional functionality for the powerful little computer that's always in my pocket (if it's not in my hand!).
Share your tips in the comments or tag me on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Instagram.
You can see other such iPhone tips via my blog category "iPhone functionality."
Sometimes you want to read every word on a webpage. But sometimes you're just looking for something in particular. But finding it isn't always so straight-forward.
On your computer, the solution is easy: type in "Control+F" on a PC or "Command+F" on a Mac and search the page for what you need.
For the longest time, I couldn't find a similar functionality on my iPhone. I Googled around. I searched the app store. I even asked a genius at the Mac Store. They sheepishly told me it wasn't possible.
Then one day, I noticed something interesting. I had accidentally discovered the iPhone's elusive Control+F! So of course I want to share it with you.
Open up your iPhone's web browser and head to a relevant webpage.
Then go up to the search/url bar at the top. Type in whatever you want to search for, just like you would following CTRL+F. But here's the important part -- DO NOT CLICK ENTER!
Rather, scroll to the bottom of the default search options. The very last thing you will see is a heading titled "On This Page," followed in parenthesis by how many matches you received.
Click on that and you can jump through every mention of your keyword or phrase listen on the page.
That's it! Pretty simple, right?
Have any fun iPhone tips to share? I'm always on the lookout for additional functionality for the powerful little computer that's always in my pocket (if it's not in my hand!).
Share your tips in the comments or tag me on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Instagram.
You can see other such iPhone tips via my blog category "iPhone functionality."
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?
We live in strange times. One person with a little ingenuity and a Twitter account or a YouTube channel can have greater reach than their local paper, and greater influence than even some in the national media.
But for most of us, we log-on to social media to connect with our friends and family, to see what’s happening in the world and to share our opinions. We aren’t trying to build massive audiences—we just want to learn, to socialize and to share our opinions on the story of the day.
And so often today, that story is about politics.
We live in a social media age: never before have American politics moved so fast or felt so destructive. It feels like we are in an endless state of breaking news; CNN’s chyron writers can hardly keep up with the stories as they come rolling in.
So let’s say you want to go online and get involved in the conversation, but you aren’t sure where to start. Then these ten tips might be for you. This list could apply to professional politicos and full-time activists, but I didn’t write it for them. Rather it’s intended for people with jobs, families, social lives and a million other things going on, but who still have a passion to change their community, if not the world.
Tip 1 — If it didn’t happen on social media, it didn’t happen.
This is the first rule of any campaign I’ve ever worked on, and it needn't be limited to traditional political campaigns. If you go to an event, no matter how well attended, consider all of those who didn’t attend. Some didn’t know about it, some couldn’t get off work, some live in other places. Talking about the events and meetings you attend both bring in new audiences in real time, and give more people a reason to attend such events in the future.
Share your story via the social media platforms of your choice throughout the event. Quote speakers, share videos of exciting moments, talk about why you are there, what you are learning and how great a time you are having.
Or else, it never really happened 😉
Tip 2 — Your story is your best asset
All the facts and statistics in the world can’t compete with a personal story from someone in your community. Hearing that 23 million people will lose healthcare is powerful; hearing that YOU or YOUR BROTHER won’t be able to keep their healthcare, far more so.
Your story doesn’t have to be tragic to be powerful. What got you active in the movement? Why do you care? What are the moments that shaped you? They are all part of your story.
You don’t have to reveal your deepest, darkest secrets to put a personal spin on the story of the day.
Tip 3 — Online organizing starts offline
You will not sign up for a Twitter account today, and amass 100k followers over the next few weeks (if you do, contact me and let’s tell that story!). But connect with the people you already know in real life and let them know how to find you online. This can be at events and meetings, in your email signature, within Facebook Groups in which you are active, etc.
The people who already know (and love) you will be much more receptive to your message than a group of strangers. And if your goal is to make a difference, it helps to have a receptive audience.
Tip 4 — Support each other
If you see someone getting attacked for speaking out, it’s okay to step up for them, just like you would in real life.
If you aren’t comfortable getting involved publicly in an online debate (some can’t because of their jobs, others just aren’t comfortable with it), consider dropping a private note to the person under siege. Let them know you appreciate that they are fighting the good fight.
If we cede the conversation to the bullies, we lose. We can’t all be outspoken activists, but we must support each other so that those who are in a position to engage won’t get shut down and pushed out of the conversation altogether.
Tip 5 — Use Twitter lists as a listening tool
I know a lot of people who don’t like Twitter because they find it too confusing. And I get that. At first glance, Twitter is chaos. But Twitter lists help bring order to the chaos.
Utilizing them is free and easy, and you don’t even have to build your own — you can subscribe to someone else’s.
Lists can be public or private:
Build lists of journalists, people who inspire you, friends, colleagues, etc.. And then get a free account with HootSuite or Tweetdeck and easily monitor them, on a timeframe that works for you.
Lists only show content shared by those in your list. So if it’s a list of journalists, whenever you login, you can see all of their tweets in a manageable stream, and nothing else. Literally: order out of the chaos.
This will help you stay informed and connected to many different groups of people in a way that won’t feel overwhelming.
Tip 6 — The Power of Facebook Events
Activists are, first and foremost, organizers. Sometimes, their goal is to use the internet as a tool to bring people together in real life. If that’s your goal, optimize your efforts.
Facebook events are extremely powerful, but ONLY if used correctly. Don’t build a Facebook Event two days before an event. At that point, you have missed your window. If you can’t build it at least 4-6 weeks prior, you are not really taking advantage of this awesome tool. (Bear in mind, this is NOT applicable for birthday parties, community concerts, etc., where you can pretty much do whatever you want. This is for public events that you want to promote to a public audience.)
Once your Event is built, invite people you think will want to attend and share it with your networks. Post about it on your wall, email it to your friends, tell people about it in real life and let them know they should join.
Once you have a group of people who have said they are “interested” or “going” to your event, now it’s time to engage them.
Every time you post an update in the event, everyone “interested” or “going” will get a notification. So it’s important not to annoy them (they can remove themselves from the event outright or simply from receiving notifications). My recommendation: post about once a week until the final two weeks prior to the actual event. Then ramp up as you get closer. But just about EVERY notification should not solicit, but rather excite.
Buy your ticket today — solicitation
This elected official will be at the event — EXCITING
Did you mark your calendars yet for the big day? — solicitation
We’re going to have cake from this awesome local bakery — EXCITING
Don’t ask people to buy a ticket. Get them to ask you how they can buy a ticket!
Tip 7 — The Power of Facebook Groups
Facebook sees Groups as a big part of their future and is investing heavily in them. Take advantage of this powerful online tool.
Find groups of likeminded people and join them (you can explore Facebook’s countless Groups at Facebook.com/Groups). If you can’t find a group of like-minded people, start your own!
The biggest strength of a Facebook Group is the same as the biggest strength of a Facebook Event: the notification!
Every time someone in the Group posts, members get a notification.
It’s a far better tool for talking to like-minded people than posting to your timeline and hoping it will get seen by the right people.
Groups can be public, closed or private:
Tip 8 — The Power of Facebook live
When it comes to Facebook reach and engagement, text is good. Pictures are better. Video is better still. And Facebook Live trumps them all.
When you use Facebook Live, whatever your phone’s camera (or now your webcam!) is seeing is broadcasted over your timeline in real time. It’s a great way to share your events with a larger audience, to tell your story, to excite people about your events (you can go Live directly into a Facebook Event or Group) and so much more! If you haven’t tried it yet, you should. It’s a fun tool and will all but guarantee increased reach and engagement over your current content.
Tip 9 — Know your tools
If you are going to be spending time online, don’t spend that time spinning your gears. You need to understand the platforms you are using to ensure you are getting the most out of them.
Knowing your tools includes important things like how to tag people on different platforms, how to schedule content, why people put a period (.) before a tag (@) on Twitter, as well as understanding the free analytics tools you have access to and so much more.
Follow me on Twitter and/or Facebook for lots of awesome tips. Read through my blog for plenty of helpful explainers. Book one of my social media training classes for you and/or your cohort. Or simply head to Google whenever you are confused and read a blog post or watch a video explaining how or why something works. If you are asking the question, someone has probably answered it online. So stop spinning your wheels and start reading/watching/digging in.
Tip 10 — Engage, educate, inspire
There are so many good people online, but sometimes the trolls and the bots are louder and more persistent. It’s our responsibility to come together and ensure that we don’t cede these valuable online spaces to the worst amongst us. Social media can be an amazing tool or a toxic wasteland. Let’s ensure the good are heard, engaged with and supported, and let’s not waste our time fighting with those who want nothing more than to draw blood. They aren’t worth the effort.
You can make a difference in your community by setting an example, by educating your networks and by digging in rather than checking out.
The internet isn’t the solution for all of life’s problems. But it is a great tool for organizing, learning and connecting. Know your tools, build your community, share your story online and work towards creating the world you know is possible.
These are my ten tips. But this list is far from exhaustive. What would you add?
People often tell me they don’t use Twitter because they can’t “say what they want to say in 140 characters.” That’s true, but probably not for the reason they think.
While Twitter allows up to 140 characters, the average reader won’t get past the first 100. That’s right—tweets between 71 and 100 characters get a 17% higher engagement rate than those creeping up towards 140. Even Twitter’s strict character limit is still too long for most folks!
But what about Facebook? Unlike Twitter, you can write significantly more in a Facebook post. If you are wondering, there is a limit—it’s 63,206 (because why not end this massive limit with a 6?!). So you might assume you should be utilizing more of those precious characters in your posts. But that’s actually not true.
A Facebook post with 40 characters or less receives nearly twice as much engagement compared to longer posts.
That’s right: LESS THAN 40 CHARACTERS.
The Three-Line Rule
This limit may seem a bit oppressive (and complicated—who’s got time to count every character), so I usually recommend what I call the three-line rule. Try to keep your content under three lines of text (not including your link).
Quick, easy, concise.
Can a post be too short?
Alternately, people often share links/pictures/videos without adding any context to the post. I HIGHLY recommend you offer at least a few words as to why you are sharing whatever it is you are sharing.
A link without context will tell us the headline of the article, but it won’t tell your audience why they should care. Are you excited about the news you are sharing? Or dismayed? Is there a change coming that your audience must know about, or just an interesting piece of information, should they have a few spare minutes? Add a few words and spell out your key takeaway(s) for your audience.
Another fun trick: you can use a pull quote. A pull quote is where you literally pick a sentence (or a paragraph or two) that sum up your key takeaway from the article and share it in quotes.
The same is true for pics and videos. Who’s in the media (tag them if you can!)? Where are you? What is happening? Give us the context we need to be excited about your content.
So to summarize:
IF you want to write longer posts on Facebook (and there are times where that might make sense), there is a smarter way to do so than by just creating a regular post with a lot of text.
When you go to your brand page to create a post, it automatically defaults to a general post. But if you notice, directly below where it says “Write something…” there are a bunch of icons with additional options.
Some are fun, some less so. Play around with all of them and see if any of them are right for you.
The one we are talking about today though is a Facebook Note. To access it, first click “See All.”
Choose to “Write a note.” Then, instead of your traditional post box, you will see this:
Notice in the header, you have the option to add a photo! While this post type isn’t as powerful as some blogging platforms, it’s quite a bit more interesting than a traditional Facebook post. After uploading a photo, you can give your post a Title.
Then start typing.
But you’re not done yet!
Click where it says “Write something…”. Then select the plus in a circle. You now have the option to drop in a photo or embed throughout your Note.
Or click on the paragraph button directly below the plus and you can format as you wish throughout.
So the next time you have a bunch of pictures from an event, instead of creating an album, try adding them to a Facebook Note, dropping in the photos and telling the story of the event. Or try creating a top ten (or other such number) that will be relevant to your audience.
While this won’t replace your traditional post options, it does offer you an additional tool in your toolkit.
Next time you create a Facebook Note, tag me. I’d love to see what you are doing with this fun tool!
When you sit down to write a social media post, it’s easy to think about promoting your amazing, important and worthwhile message to the world — to make pronouncements that will change your audience’s behavior and blow their minds. Whether you are selling a product, promoting an event or even just sharing an interesting article you came across, you know the value you are adding to your community, and you want your audience to recognize it as well.
It doesn’t matter what the content is, every one of your social media posts will be consumed by (numerous) INDIVIDUAL people, reading it on their INDIVIDUAL screens, as they go about their INDIVIDUAL lives. So ensure that you are writing for each of them as an individual, not some amorphous crowd of people. It’s easy to forget this because your content, once published, will be seen by tens, hundreds or even thousands of people. Rather than thinking about how many people will consume your content, think about how they will consume it—alone. Think of it this way: you aren’t playing in a packed arena, you are providing a private living room concert; adjust accordingly.
Here’s a simple trick for ensuring that your content rings true to each individual member of your community: when you sit down to create it, picture an actual person with whom you want to connect and draft as if you are speaking directly to that particular person. Think about a costumer, a donor, a constituent or a fan… pick one person and write your post directly to them.
Here are some important questions to ask yourself before hitting publish:
It’s easy to think about a social media post as a megaphone, announcing your latest content to the world. But really, it’s more like a telephone, creating a connection between you and an individual. Treat your content accordingly and get ready for higher engagement rates and better reach on future posts.
And if you are wondering, I wanted to let you know, I wrote this post especially for YOU!
I wrote a guest blog post for Indie on the Move entitled: 5 Ways to Use Facebook Live to Grow Your Brand's Reach. While the post is (obviously) geared towards musicians, I think it can assist any person or brand who works directly with people. Try and think about your own audience: what might a "behind the scenes" peak look like?; what would be the equivalency of your sound check?; what might your customer see as your "tour"?
If you have good answers to any of the above, share them in the comments or on Facebook/Twitter. I'd love to hear about your customer journey.
If you aren't sure how these examples can serve as metaphors for you and your customers, drop me a line. Maybe I can help you figure it out!
Without further ado, here are 5 Ways to Use Facebook Live to Grow Your Brand's Reach.
If you spend time on social media, you’re probably familiar with Facebook Live, a relatively new Facebook tool that allows you to broadcast live—in real time—directly to your audience.
While you probably know what Facebook Live is, you might not realize just how powerful it is.
Facebook, at least for the time being, is extremely committed to this tool and is offering all implementers a powerful free gift for using it: guaranteed exposure and engagement!
When you stream via Facebook Live, Facebook gives a notification to every one of your followers that you are currently live. If your followers aren’t online while you go live, they’ll get a notification that you were live. This simple notification all but guarantees increased reach and engagement over even your most well-produced videos.
So that’s why it’s important. But you might also be wondering WHEN you should use it. Here are 5 ways you can use Facebook Live to greatly expand your band’s reach.
1) Do a weekly Live session right from your living room or practice space.
Give it a simple catchy hashtag to demonstrate it’s part of a series. Exs: #MusicMondays or #TuesdayBluesday. Having the day of the week is helpful, to help brand it as something people should expect every week. One caveat: if you tell people you are going to do it weekly, YOU HAVE TO DO IT WEEKLY. If that is too much responsibility, then go with #LivingRoomSessions, or #FunkyFacebook. You’ll lose a bit in the process, because it will be harder for people to know when to expect it. But better they don’t know, then they expect it and it doesn’t happen!
Sharing music like this gives you a chance to connect directly with your audience in a very personal way. They log onto Facebook to see updates from their friends and family… and there is their favorite band or musician, playing just for them! It’s like a private concert for your fans. And the best part: it cost you nothing.
2) Working on a new album? Take us “behind the scenes” into the studio.
Show us your drummer setting up his drum mics or interview your sound engineer about how he gets that special signature sound. This is an easy way to raise awareness—and build excitement—about your new album.
Conversely, when you release a new album, go live to talk about the process. Tell a funny story from the studio, or the meaning behind one of the songs. Is the local record store selling your album? Go in with your smartphone and show it sitting on the shelves. You get to brag a bit about your accomplishment, your fans know where they can find your music, AND the record store will love you: you just gave them a bunch of free publicity!
3) Whether you’re traveling halfway across the country for your next show, or just ten minutes down the road, hop on Facebook Live and let us know how great tonight’s show is going to be.
Will you have a special guest (you don’t have to say who it will be!)? Will you be playing a new song? Is it your first time at a new venue? What better time to talk to your audience then while you’re on your way to a show. For those in other cities, they’ll be excited to hear from you. And for those in town, your video might just be the reminder they needed to call their friends and head on down to the venue!
4) This one is similar to 3, but different enough to get its own point: livestream part of your soundcheck.
If you don’t do a soundcheck, then walk around the venue and talk to your fans. Or show the line to get inside. Or even just tell us how much you are enjoying your pre-show beer! This is your last chance to make a connection before the show starts, and to get all those fans who haven’t yet committed to coming out, to give it once last consideration. Pro tip: Don’t ask them to come, just talk about how excited you are about the night. If your excitement is genuine, they don’t need to be invited—they’ll be eager to get there all on their own!
5) As your band grows, you have more and more fans who live further and further away.
Just because someone isn’t going to drive 6 hours to see your show doesn’t mean they don’t wish they could be there. Buy a tripod (you can get a good one for $20) and set it up on stage. Livestream a song or two. Hell, livestream the whole show. (You can go Live on Facebook for up to 4 hours at a time!) It might be too late for someone not at your show to come out. But this brings them into the party, makes them wish they were there, and all but ensures they’ll try harder next time to make it out.
This list is not meant to be exhaustive—far from it. There’s no shortage of ways you can use this powerful tool to grow your reach and engagement. Are you using Facebook Live in other, clever ways? Please share them with me on Facebook and/or Twitter. I’d love to hear about them!
If you need any additional help with Facebook Live, or with anything else related to your digital story, drop me a line. I always love talking social media and music!
You are busy; there aren't enough hours in the day to do everything. Social media feels like a chore; one that never ends. You might feel that if you can't do it right, why bother doing it all.
Fret not: A good social media program can be run in as few as 20 minutes a day.
This session will help you spend your limited social media time wisely, ensuring you reap the greatest rewards from this ever-growing part of business – in as few as 20 minutes a day!
By having a plan, segmenting tasks and properly organizing your ideas, you can create and manage an interesting, engaging and valuable social media program without having to sacrifice all of your many other responsibilities.
In the session, we cover topics like:
Facebook makes it easy to invite those who like your content to like your page. Check out this simple trick and start growing your page today!
On Friday, Donald Trump was inaugurated as the 45th President of the United States before a crowd of about a quarter of a million people gathered on the National Mall.
The following day, half a million people took to the street's in our nation's capital for the #WomensMarch in order to "stand together in solidarity with our partners and children for the protection of our rights, our safety, our health, and our families - recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our country."
Along with the central march in Washington, DC, there were another 2.5 million people participating in 600 sister marches world wide.
The largest marches were in Los Angeles (750k), Washington, DC (500k), New York (400k) and Chicago (250k). It is not surprising the biggest crowds were in the three most populous cities and our nation's capital.
The top ten largest marches* were:
Los Angeles, CA: 750,000
Washington, DC: 500,000
New York, NY: 400,000
Boston, MA: 100,000
Chicago, IL: 250,000
Denver, CO: 100,000
Madison, WI: 100,000
Portland, OR: 100,000
Seattle, WA: 100,000
St. Paul, MN: 90,000
BUT, when we look at the size of the march compared to the city population, rather than the raw numbers by city, things get interesting.
Washington, DC comes out on top, with number of participants equivalent to 75% of their population. [Before we move forward, let's break that down: Washington, DC has a population of 659,000 people. They had 500,000 marchers. So the percentage of marchers, as compared to the city's population, was 500,000/659,000 = 75.87%.] But many people traveled from all over the country to participate in the central march.
Second to DC, the clear winner of marchers by city population was Madison, WI with over 40% turnout!!!
When rearranged for turnout ratio, the top marching cities are now as follows:
Washington, DC: 75.87%
Madison, WI: 41.15%
St. Paul, MN: 30.51%
Los Angeles, CA: 19.23%
Portland, OR: 16.42%
Boston, MA: 15.5%
Denver, CO: 15.38%
Seattle, WA: 15.34%
Chicago, IL: 9.26%
New York, NY: 4.76%
Great work Madison, Wisconsin. Way to represent your values.
Check out some of the great social content from the day at #WomensMarchMadison.
*March sizes sourced from The Hill.
Population size is based on city limits and sourced from the Google Knowledge Graph.
This awesome infographic was created by iCandy-Graphics and Web Design. Follow them on Twitter @iCandyGraphics1.
Instagram finished 2016 with a billion monthly active users. 500 million of them are active on a daily basis. Five. Hundred. MILLION!
That’s 1/3 of ALL internet users.
And they are active. Everyday, users post an average of 95 million posts. And they like over 4 billion posts. (Yes, that’s billions with a “B”.)
Brands are a big part of the fun. And with good reason: according to Instagram’s Advertiser Statistics, HALF of all users follow at least one brand on the platform. Of those, “60% say that they learn about a product or service on the platform, while 75% take action, such as visiting a website, after looking at a post.”
So here's a simple question: Is your brand making the most of this platform?
Whether this is:
-the first you are hearing about this interesting-sounding platform,
-you have an account but you're not sure how to get started, or
-you use IG daily, but you just aren't sure you're getting everything you can out of it,
the time has come for you to Become an Instagram Champion!
We’ll cover topics like:
Trainings for you and your team can be conducted on-site or remotely.
I’ve worked with local, statewide and national political campaigns, nonprofits, small businesses, bands, artists, authors and journalists and more who wanted to better tell their digital story. Ready to tell yours?
I also train people to become Facebook Ninjas, Super Twitterers and more.
Learn more about how we might work together.
What People Have Said About Working With Me
"Josh is a social media maven who wants to help others improve. I have benefited from Josh’s expertise firsthand, and as a result feel more confident using social media to empower more good in the community. Josh is an effective and patient teacher, responsive, thoughtful and practical."
-Renee Moe, President & CEO, United Way of Dane County
"Josh is a wizard. We just had a three hour training with him and feel like we have more than a clue how to promote our band and stay in touch with music lovers everywhere."
-Sims Delaney-Potthoff, Mandolinist and Bandleader, Harmonious Wail
Received a few hours of consulting from [Josh] today. Best money I've spent in a long, long time.
-Philip Crawford, Manifestly and Political Strategist
"My staff and I attended your training... and were absolutely blown away by the presentation and quality of content. To say we took away a ton is a vast understatement! I don't think I've ever been in a training more engaging and insightful, PLUS my team is beaming with motivation and excitement to hit the ground running!
Massive THANK YOU, Josh, for your wisdom and expert advice on how to use social media to grow Jenerate Wellness. You're top-notch!"
-Jen Rudis, Jenerate Wellness
Spencer X. Smith asked Madison's social media and marketing experts to share their top advice from 2016. He then published their responses in In Business Madison Magazine.
I am very honored to have been included as one of Madison's social media and marketing experts.
Here the advice I offered:
“Don’t sell; build. Build trust, communities, and relationships. Remember that every Like or Follower is a real person and treat them as such.
“Add value to the lives of your audience, both current and potential. Make it clear it’s not all about the sales funnel.
“Encourage your audience to join you in telling your story. Do this by engaging with their content, responding to their questions and comments, and by sharing/retweeting content they write about you and your brand. It’s always better to let others say how great you are than to try and say it yourself.”
Anything you would add? Any questions?
Check out what Madison's other experts had to say and feel free to comment here with any tips you would add to the list.
Author's note: I wrote this post leading up to the holiday season. But these tips are valid all year round. So whenever you might be reading this post, I hope you find it helpful and timely.
The holidays are almost here and that means it’s spending season! People are going to be buying presents, taking vacations, going out for family dinners and thinking about end of year giving. There is no better time to take stock and make sure your social media is working for you as strongly as it should be.
So here is a quick top ten checklist to help ensure you get everything you can out of social media this holiday season:
1) Tag and recognize your partners
To tag on most platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn...) type an @ and then start typing a partner’s username. You will see a dropdown menu of options. Choose the right handle (unique name of person or brand) and viola! Instead of just writing their name online, you are tagging them. Now they will get a notification you mentioned them and hopefully they will turn around and spread the love.
2) Text < Pictures < Video < Facebook Live
Good text is important.
But posts with pictures are better.
Video will take you even further.
And Facebook Live can take you to levels you didn’t know was possible!
3) Have ONE hashtag (#) and use it
If you live, work and post in a B2C world (business 2 consumer as opposed to B2B--business 2 business), you should utilize a hashtag and you should use it often. It’s okay to have additional hashtags for specific sales, events, or campaigns, but regularly using multiple hashtags means none are as strong as they could be.
Post using your hashtag and encourage others to use it as well. You can do this by displaying it in your store/office/meeting spaces, sharing/retweeting/reposting content that uses your hashtag and generally letting your audience know about it.
4) Don’t autopost
When you autopost from Facebook to Twitter, you are telling your Twitter followers that your time is more valuable than theirs. It’s fine to post similar versions of the same content in both formats, but copy and paste your post into each platform and ensure that everything is optimized for the platform in which you are posting. (If a post ends with a "..." that is BAD!)
One potential exception: use a site like If This Than That (IFTTT)* and build a “recipe” that automatically posts your Instragram pictures to Twitter. Don’t EVER post a link to your Instagram picture on Twitter (automatically or otherwise). If people interact with you on Twitter, show them your picture where they are!
*Here’s an explainer blog to walk you through setting up an IFTTT recipe.
5) Engage with and share content from happy customers and respond openly and honestly to unhappy ones
While seeing negative content online about yourself and your brand might be painful, it’s there whether or not you engage! If you see negative comments, decide if the poster is a troll or an unhappy customer. A troll should never be engaged with, but DO NOT ignore unhappy customers; if they write about you on social media, they are talking about you publicly. Respond. Don’t be defensive, just explain your side and if you offered solutions, share them publicly. Don’t cede the conversation, engage in it!
And of course if people say nice things about you, like the comment/tweet/picture, comment on it, and share it! It’s amazing how far a little TLC can go.
6) Post often (but not too often!)
As a rule of thumb, you should post on Facebook and Instagram a minimum of 3-5 times per week and a maximum of 3-5 times per day.
On Twitter, post a minimum of 8-10 times per week and maximum of 8-10 times per day.
Sound like a lot? It’s not! Follow the 80/20 rule (#8) and you’ll be good to go.
7) Use your blog as a bridge to drive traffic from social media to your website
Spell out ideas in great detail on your blog. Then share snippets on social. This is a great tip for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and keeping your site up-to-date and dynamic. And it will serve as a bridge between your social and your site.
You shouldn't repost the same content over and over. But it’s okay (encouraged even!) to repackage your content. Your social will have a different audience in the morning than the evening. Different people will be logged on Wednesday than Friday. Keep finding ways to share your content, creatively and helpfully.
8) Follow the 80/20 rule -- don’t sell, build! (trust, community, relationships)
The 80/20 rule states that 20% of your content should be about you and your brand. The other 80% should be content that your audience will find helpful/relevant/interesting/funny/provoking...
For every post talking about a sale, a new product, store hours, or the like, you should have four posts that will simply add value to your audience’s lives.
9) Understand your analytics and learn from them
There is no shortage of third party apps and sites that will provide a tremendous amount of data about your social media’s analytics. But Facebook and Twitter each have very powerful analytic tools built right into the platform. They are free to access and will provide you invaluable data that you can learn from and use to improve your content and digital strategy.
To access your Facebook analytics, go to your brand page and navigate in the top menu bar to “Insights.” For Twitter, login to your account and open a new tab. Then go to analytics.twitter.com and they will be there waiting for you.
If you’ve never visited either, you’ll be amazed what you can learn.
10) Display your handles (and your hashtag) for the world to see
If you have a brick and mortar store or a restaurant, display your handles (and your hashtag) loud and proud. Let people know that you want to see pics of their new end table or the special cocktail you just served them.
Don’t have a brick and mortar store? Promote your handles in your emails and newsletters. Put it on your website. If you have clothing or merchandise, include your hashtag on it. If you are in front of a crowd (one person or ten thousand), let them know how to find you online.
No one will care more about what you have to say online then the people who already love what you do offline!
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.
Last week, I had the good fortune to attend the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. Needless to say, it was quite the experience. I saw and learned A LOT.
While the DNC is all about politics, and quite a bit about policy, I want to reflect on what I learned regarding process. Here are a few key takeaways—in no particular order–that I took away from my time at the DNC.
If you have any questions about anything else from the week, ask them in the comments or on Twitter—I’ll be happy to answer them.
Who's Telling The Story?
I watched the RNC on television, I had a front row seat for the DNC (well, not exactly front row, but you know what I mean). From where I sat, the RNC was a full-on sh*t show compared to the DNC.
Now to be fair, the DNC had its fair share of controversies.
But none of the DNC chaos ever made it on to stage. You could see the protestors in the audience and you could hear them chanting (and occasionally booing), but as far as the regularly scheduled program: it was a well-oiled machine.
And yet, I saw countless stories talking about how much better an event the RNC was, when compared to the DNC.
At first glance, I couldn’t understand it. Had the press been watching a different set of conventions that me?
The answer: they were watching the same events, but they were experiencing them much differently.
Unless you watched the conventions yourself, what you know about them is most likely based on how the press chose to report them. The press experience at the RNC was FAR superior to the press experience at the DNC. I know this from reading numerous reports as well as several conversations with reporters. The RNC understood the importance of pampering the press -- the DNC seemed to approach them as an oversight. The reporting conveyed those differing opinions.
The Takeaway: If you don’t treat the press well, the story of the day will not be good.
Don’t Needlessly Extend Your Controversy
Debbie Wasserman Schultz was the chairperson of the DNC. The day before the gavel was set to bring the convention to order, Wikileaks released numerous emails, purportedly hacked from the party's servers by Russia, showing that one particular conspiracy theory—that the party had been tipping the scales in favor of Clinton over Sanders throughout the primaries—had in fact not be speculative, but real.
DWS was party chairwomen, and as such, much of the blame and the vitriol fell on her. The host of the week was suddenly person non grata within the party. So what did she do? She flailed.
Anyone paying attention knew that she should not take the stage at the convention, and that was the ultimate outcome. But by my count, it took four pivots (FOUR!) in about 24 hours to get her there.
First she said she would gavel the convention in and out, but not speak. Then, she was going to gavel in and out, speak briefly, and then resign immediately following the convention. Then she was set to speak, but not gavel. And ultimately, she did none of the above.
Which was what obviously had to happen. And yet she allowed the hours immediately preceding the convention to be all about her, the controversy, and the process.
Key Takeaway: Damage control is sometimes necessary, but don’t publicly air your thoughts throughout the process.
Don’t Pivot to Your Weakness
Congressman Ron Kind came and spoke to the Wisconsin delegation over breakfast one morning. He was immediately met with protestors, challenging his stance on the TPP (as guaranteed, this point is NOT about policy!). He diffused the protestors by essentially appealing to their Midwestern niceness. He asked them to be respectful, and offered to speak with them in the hallway following his remarks. A New York or Florida delegation might have eaten him alive simply for offering to speak about something like this offline, but these were Wisconsinites. They acquiesced.
Then a few minutes into his speech: he brought up trade (the TPP is a trade agreement). The protestors were willing to sit by while he spoke about party unity and how hot Philadelphia was or whatever, but he pretty much threw their silence back in the face. And they were having none of it.
The protests began again, with fresh blood.
Key Takeaway: Don’t bring up a controversy, unless you are prepared to talk about it.
It Just Takes One Or Two
If you followed coverage of the DNC at all, you probably saw the Wisconsin delegate who taped her mouth shut, declaring herself “silenced.” If 99 people are happy (not that this was the case here at all, but still), the press will seek out the one who is not.
The Kind breakfast (discussed above) got a lot of Wisconsin press, and it was not because of his remarks, but because of the protests that erupted during it.
There were close to 200 people in the room when Kind spoke. There were MAYBE five vocal protestors. But those five people owned the story.
Key Takeaway: Anyone can own a news cycle, if they are organized and ready to become the story.
Is There A Such Thing As Bad Press?
We won’t really know the answer to this question until November, but if anyone understands how to own a news cycle, it’s clearly Donald Trump.
On Wednesday, day three of the convention, Trump went on TV and literally invited Russia (the purported hackers of the DNC who started the DWS controversy) to try and find Hillary Clinton’s 33,000 missing e-mails. He promised that the press would appreciate it.
He was openly colluding with a foreign government, and literally asking them to help sway a presidential election. To say that this was unprecedented would be an understatement.
The controversy swelled and it quickly became the story of the day.
Granted the story was negative for Trump, with even the conservative press mostly saying it was an insane thing for him to have said.
Yet on a day when the country should have been talking about President Bill Clinton’s remarks from the night before, and the speeches coming later that evening from President Obama, Vice President Biden and Vice Presidential nominee Tim Kaine, all anyone could talk about was Trump.
Key Takeaway: The American people love controversy and drama and Trump is the master of both.
Emotion Trumps Articulation
There have been so many stories written about Kazir Khan, the father of the Gold Star soldier who asked Trump if he had even read the constitution, that I feel weird wading into the territory. But I’ll continue limiting myself to the non-political and non-policy angle of the story.
Kazir speaks English as a second language. He purportedly had no speech on the teleprompter, he simply got up there and spoke. And yet his speech was arguably the most talked about of the entire convention.
Compare his speech those of Senators Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, FLOTUS, VPOTUS, two POTUS, HRC herself and so many others. Khan is far from the wordsmith of any of the aforementioned, yet everyone listening to his speech felt his words in a way that is rare, and frankly special.
Key takeaway: Preparation is good, soaring rhetoric is great, but both pale in comparison to truly believing in your story.
It’s Good To Have Friends
The location of the convention was far outside of town, surrounded only by other stadiums (Philadelphia has football/baseball/basketball venues all in one MASSIVE parking lot), with no hotels nearby.
There were several ways to get to and from the convention everyday, but one of the easiest: Uber.
If you wanted a car to take you as close as possible to the event, you couldn’t take a Lyft or even a standard cab. You had to take an Uber.
Uber and Philadelphia have a complicated relationship, as do many cities with this disruptive technology. And yet a cab could not get you nearly as close to the DNC as an Uber.
David Plouffe, a former campaign manager for Barack Obama, is currently a full-time strategic advisor for the company. Do I know that Plouffe’s role at Uber directly helped create this relationship? No. But does it seem like they are interconnected.
Key takeaway: It’s Not What You Know, It’s Who You Know
Other’s Weakness + Your Strength = Power
While there were MANY powerful moments at the DNC, there was one in particular that really stayed with me.
Throughout the week, they showed these clips of Trump saying terrible things, billed as “Trump In His Own Words.”
One such clip showed Trump mocking a disabled reporter. They then showed him saying disparaging things about the reporter and others with disability. Then they showed the clip again.
As soon as the clip ended, a voice came over the loudspeaker, sounding not all that different than the one Trump had just been openly mocking. Anastasia Somoza was on stage, sitting in her wheelchair and speaking passionately about her relationship with HRC.
They hadn’t just gone out and found a young woman with disabilities to follow Trump's disgusting moment from the campaign trail, Anastasia has had a relationship with Hillary for many years. She told stories of hearing from Hillary numerous times over the years when she was in darker moments in her life. They showed pictures of the two together dating back to Anastasia as a young girl.
Anastasia was articulate, passionate and proud of her relationship with Hillary. It was a touching moment at the convention.
But it wasn't her speech that stood out per se (at least not for me). Rather it was the juxtaposition of Trump’s mocking with Anastasia’s grace.
Key takeaway: Don’t just highlight your adversary’s weaknesses. Highlight your own strengths in comparison.
So, those are just a few of my non-political, non-policy takeaways from the DNC. I also saw lots of great speeches, had tons of celebrity sightings, drafted a tweet that made it on to the jumbo-tron and so much more. But these were some thoughts I wanted to share with you.
As I said, ask any questions in the comments or via Twitter and I’ll be happy to answer them. Thanks for reading.
People often ask me why I love Twitter as much as I do (in case you are wondering, I love it. A LOT). I have so many reasons, but at this moment, I just want to share one.
There was just a coup in Turkey. That is a pretty big deal, to say the least. I have been scrolling through reports via Twitter for a good 35 minutes reading up on the latest developments. At the time of this writing, there isn’t much known, but there is SOME known.
Out of curiosity, I headed over to my Facebook feed, just to see how relevant this massive international story was for my friends and family. I had to scroll through 41 posts to find anything mentioning the word Turkey. Forty-one.
While Twitter might not have had all the facts, Facebook didn’t seem to even know that something was happening.
While Facebook’s algorithm helps ensure that you see things that you are most likely to be interested in, it’s also slow and can be clunky as hell.
Many people get their news exclusively from Facebook. A Pew Research study earlier this year found that 62% of people get their news from social media, with the vast majority relying on Facebook.
Almost an hour after a coup broke out in a very complicated part of the world, those checking the “news” via Facebook know nothing about the story.
At some point, Facebook’s algorithm will catch up with the events and people will have more info about Erdogan and Ankara and the PKK then they know what to do with. But by that time, the coup will probably be over.
Twitter is reporting in real time while Facebook is working hard to try and figure out which stories might matter.
I use both platforms on a constant basis and can’t imagine losing either. But when people ask me why I love Twitter, days like this are just one of a million reasons.
Ever wonder what your partners, competitors or market leaders are doing well on Facebook? Guess what? Facebook has you covered!
You can actually set up “Pages to Watch” and then track both their weekly progress and their top posts of the week. If you haven’t already set up this functionality, fear not—it’s easy!
First go to your Facebook brand page (you might call it a business page). Then at the top menu, go to your insights.
In the left-hand menu, you will be in Overview by default. This section will give you top-line info on your page, show you analytics for your most recent five posts and, if you scroll down, allow you to watch any pages you have setup to watch.
Bear in mind that Facebook offers these free tools (and MANY others) on a tiered system. Your page must have at least 35 likes in order for you to access your insights in the first place and it must have at least 100 likes to unlock the pages to watch feature. So if you don’t see these options, fret not. You’ll get there! And when you do, you have plenty of great new tools to look forward to.
Assuming you can see “Add Pages,” type in a page and select “+Watch Page.”
Once selected, it will show up in your Pages to Watch section.
Right off the bat, you’ll see the pages total page likes, their percent change from last week, how many posts they did this week and their engagement this week.
If you click on them within your list, you’ll get a list of their most popular posts from this week.
It’s worth pointing out, none of the information you are seeing in this section is private. You could see all of this by heading to their page and looking through their posts, seeing their comments, shares and reactions and tracking their page like growth on your own. But if you have many competitors, it can be a lot of trouble to keep up with all of them.
This functionality puts every page you want to follow in one easy-to-access place and shows you their weekly growth and engagement. And Facebook will include you in the list, so you can see how your own page compares.
As far as seeing their top content of the week, while this too is nothing private or hidden, it is a good practice to see what is working well for others in your field. There won’t be any state secrets revealed, but it will help you see what is getting people excited in your field on any given week.
So set yours up, and share anything interesting or exciting you learn in the comments, or on social. Follow and chat with us on Facebook and Twitter.
Producing Great Content for Social Media: Telling Your Story Through Created & Curated Posts covers such crucial topics as:
Feedback from participants:
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!
Twitter, and the internet in general, can be an overwhelming place if you don’t speak “the language.” While this list is neither meant to be exhaustive nor ever up-to-date up with an ever progressing set of terminology, these are some acronyms that you should know.
Come across any others you aren’t sure about? Google can usually provide the answer pretty quickly. But don’t hesitate to reach out. I’ll be happy to get back to you. NP (No Problem).
Without further ado, here are some Twitter (and general social media) acronyms that you should know:
Not sure if you are open to receive DMs from anyone? Here’s a blog post I wrote on the subject.
Any that I missed? Mention them in the comments, drop me a line or tag me online (Twitter or Facebook). In the meantime, HTH (Hope This Helps)!
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