Category Archives: Digital marketing

Easier content curation?

I can’t scroll through my Twitter timeline these days without seeing links to blog posts promising to show me how to manage social media in “five minutes a day” or some other such incredible time saving feat.

I quite often like to look at these posts, because they’ll usually list some useful tools which help you with social media management, but in my opinion, if you want to do social media properly you are going to have to invest some time and effort!

Like with everything, you’ll get back what you put in. However, it is true that there are some brilliant time-saving tools out there (Hootsuite, IFTTT etc), but I am willing to go on record and say that if you’re only spending five minutes a day managing your social media accounts, you’re probably not doing a particularly effective job!

Tonight, I was listening to one of my favourite podcasts, The Digital Marketing Podcast by Target Internet, and they were talking about the subject of how to streamline your content curation.

Daniel Rowles, one of the podcast presenters, talked about how he is using Feedly alongside Hootsuite to source relevant content and auto schedule it to his social media accounts.

I’m a big fan of Feedly, having moved my feeds over there when Google Reader closed. And I use it a lot for keeping up with all my favourite blogs and, as a natural follow on from this, for my content curation. Currently I do all this manually. I find an article I think is interesting or useful, I open up Hootsuite and I copy and paste across titles, URLs, look for the Twitter handle of the author if possible, compose my tweet, choose my network, schedule my post and then press submit.

Daniel’s suggestion was about signing up to the premium version of Feedly (currently $5 a month – about £3.16), and using their automated ‘post to Hootsuite’ feature. This allows you to send an article of interest to your followers straight to Hootsuite, it automatically shortens the link, suggests text for your tweet (which you can, of course, edit). You then choose which account to post to and press ‘auto schedule’.

I’ve not used auto schedule on Hootsuite before, although I am a big Hootsuite fan and use it for both work and personal accounts to manually schedule content. I was interested to hear that you can choose the maximum number of tweets you want the platform to auto schedule a day (e.g. no more than 8). As you find relevant and interesting content to push out to your audience, you ‘auto schedule’ it, and if you’re finding more than 8 articles a day, Hootsuite will automatically schedule that for the next ‘available’ day.

There are the usual arguments about whether or not too much content curation is making Twitter too ‘noisy’, but personally, people sharing relevant, interesting information that helps me learn and develop is one of the main attractions of Twitter for me – so I’m all for it! But that’s with the strong proviso that I only ever share content which I have read and genuinely found interesting, thought provoking or useful. I would never share for sharing’s sake.

It was interesting to hear that the combination of Feedly putting content straight into Hootsuite and the use of the auto schedule feature had been so useful for Daniel. He also reports that posting regularly (around 8 times a day) had helped him grow his twitter following.

So I’ve decided I might give it a go and see how it works for me. I don’t think I’ll be aiming as high as 8 times a day… maybe more like 3 to start with! And I will make sure I’m not sharing anything I don’t genuinely believe to be a good, engaging, informative read.

No doubt I will report back with my thoughts in a later blog post…

 

The true ‘value’ of social media marketing

I was reading this post by Neville Hobson: ‘Why the C-suite don’t ‘get’ social media marketing – and how to change that’ the other day and it got me thinking.

It’s quite amazing to me that some people don’t want to accept that social media has changed the world, like it or not. People’s expectations of how companies will communicate with them have changed. Many people I know would be reluctant to use the services of a company which doesn’t have a website – and I think that this will increasingly apply to companies who have no social media presence.

As Neville Hobson says in his post, the best way to get the ‘powers that be’ to understand the value of social media is to get them on there themselves. Let them see for themselves the professional value that being on Twitter or LinkedIn can provide – as a way of networking, information gathering, profile raising, building trust. Once they understand that social media is not all about Justin Bieber and pictures of what you had for dinner, you will have their interest. Once they see how the companies and individuals they admire are using social media, they’ll start to want that for themselves and their company too.

As communications people, we have a duty to help the less social media savvy members of our organisation understand the value of social media. We flag up complaints, possible issues or negative feedback that people post about our organisation on social media. But are we as good at showcasing the positive interactions? You can understand why somebody only seeing the negative side of the picture would wonder: “why are we doing this?”

In the world of Local Government comms, we know, that when we answer a person’s question quickly, efficiently, and actually get their problem sorted out, they’re usually pleased. They’re happy that, with one tweet, they’ve managed to get their bin emptied, flytipping removed, streetlight fixed, whatever. Even the most frequent posters of complaints or issues on to a council’s social media accounts are only looking to have those issues dealt with, and when they are, usually there’ll be a “thanks”. Actually what they’re doing is being an active, engaged citizen, who cares about the place they live and likes to know that they only have to post a quick comment on Facebook, or a tweet, and that information will be passed on and dealt with. That’s pretty brilliant in anyone’s book.

Local authorities are not so worried about monetary ROI as the CEOs in Neville Hobson’s post. But of course time is precious, and everyone in the organisation wants to be sure that effort and resources are not wasted on anything which doesn’t demonstrate a true “value” of some sort.

So it’s important that when good things happen on social media, we’re sharing that with the people at the top, as well the less positive things. If we can get more of those positive examples noticed, that slightly intangible “value” of social media will start to be recognised more. It is about conversations, building relationships, and expanding customer service online into the places where our residents already are.

I’m sure there are far fewer social media sceptics at the top of organisations than there used to be – and comms has a vital role to play in helping the uninitiated understand what they’re missing out on. As for reputational risk – the risk of not using social media far outweighs the risk of doing so – it’s what your customers and stakeholders now expect of you.

It will soon be impossible to ignore the expectations of social media – if it isn’t already.

How the personal touch is selling t-shirts on Facebook

This advert popped into my Facebook newsfeed the other day:

Personalised Facebook Ad - It's A Melling Thing slogan t-shirt

It struck me as a really clever way to advertise – and it’s not surprising that it got plenty of shares, likes and comments, because it’s not only an advert, it’s a real talking point too, and something a little bit different.

It also goes to show how well you can target an audience with Facebook ads.

As well as all those shares and likes lots of the people who commented on the advert tagged family members in their comments, increasing the visibility of the ad even further.

All in all it’s not just an advert, it’s great content too.

And reading the comments was really interesting, as it became a kind of magnet for the Mellings of the world to say hello to each other and talk a little bit about their family history:

Comments on the It's A Melling Thing t-shirt advert

I would love to see the analytics at the end of this campaign, but suffice to say it’s going to be a hit.

Simple but effective, it is certainly something to think about when planning a Facebook advert campaign.

And there are a few Mellings on my side of the family who might even wake up to one of those T-shirts on Christmas morning!