Wednesday, 16 December 2015

How To Change These 8 Bad Business Habits Before They Break Your Company

Bad habits in communication, hiring, inventory management, accounting and other areas can destroy your business. Drop them and pick up these best practices instead.
Business owners may not think these bad habits are affecting the financial success of their companies, but slowly—and surely—things will start to fall apart.
People aren’t born with habits—you bind yourself to them over time. The good ones give you much-needed routine and structure while the bad ones send you spiraling downward. For business owners, these bad habits quickly spread to the way you do business, affecting the rest of your team and, inevitably, the financial health of your company.
Below are common bad habits that business owners often drag into the office—and how to break them before they break your company.

1) THE BAD HABIT:  Poor communication
They key to all relationships is communication—and this includes the relationships you have with employees and customers. Good communication isn’t just about answering emails or having conversations when needed; it’s also about connecting on a human level and building relationships that lead to passionate brand ambassadors willing to share your message with their network. In turn, this generates massive awareness and profits for your brand.
Of course this level of communication takes time and effort and many business owners may feel their time is needed elsewhere. However, not taking the time to fix poor communication can really break your business. According to 360 Solutions, a business with 100 employees will spend 17 hours weekly, or $528,443 dollars per year, clarifying misunderstood messages.
Additionally, small business owners may not understand how crucial it is to have proper CRM software to record every interaction you’ve had with a customer. This technology might not have been needed when companies are starting out or smaller, but as your business grows, the difference between having access to customer data or not translates to either sales generated or sales getting stuck in the pipelines. Still, 71 percent of small business owners and executives surveyed for the Wasp Barcode’s State of Small Business Reportadmitted that they don’t use any kind of CRM software.

Take the time to get to know your employees, check in with them often, implement an effective CRM system, and practice good communication skills in your daily life. Once you’ve built a relationship with your employees and customers, don’t forget to keep getting to know them. Loyalty isn’t something that happens overnight, and only through time and effective communication skills can you continue to improve relationships and understand what the people who make your business want from your company. This is extremely valuable information that can’t be purchased.

2) THE BAD HABIT: Not hiring the right talent for the job
Finding good talent that fits in with your work culture is challenging. Furthermore, in the knowledge economy, finding the right talent can be tough because traditional ways of recruiting aren’t as effective as they once were.
The pressure to hire the right talent is intensified in small businesses where teams work closer together and budget is tighter. The State of Small Business Report revealed 42 percent of small business owners identified hiring new talent as their biggest challenge in 2015. After all, one bad hire can cost a company 30 percent of the employee’s potential first year earnings when you factor in related costs like hiring, onboarding, compensation and severance pay, according to the Department of Labor. Additionally, hiring someone who doesn’t fit in with your culture can spread negativity to other employees and end up hurting company morale.

When writing a job ad, be very specific about your needs for the position and determine what skills are needed. Also, carefully consider the skills and titles job seekers might be searching for when looking for your ad. The more detailed your outline, the better your chances of hiring the right person. Marketing blogger Gary Shouldis wrote:
Recommended for YouWebcast: The 12 Types of Viral Marketing
It’s better to know that you are looking for ‘a college student to work weekends that has unlimited enthusiasm, a great attitude and has previous customer service experience’ then ‘someone to work weekends.’ Once you have created a profile for your new employee, you can use it as your guide and to avoid getting sidetracked.
Once you find someone you think could be a good candidate, don’t forget to check up on their referrals. Finally, be very aware of bias hiring as those can often stop you from hiring the people you really need to move your company forward.

3) THE BAD HABIT: Think you’re too busy for inventory management
It’s true, small business owners have a lot on their plate, so keeping track of inventory might be the last thing on their mind. But it shouldn’t be. Properly managing inventory is key to maintaining a positive cash flow. Yet, the State of Small Business Report revealed 46 percent of small businesses don’t even track inventory or use a manual process, which is the reason why poor inventory management is one of the top reasons why small businesses fail, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration.
So, what’s the big deal with inventory? Think about it this way: carrying excess goods can lead to a negative number on your cash flow statement while running out of goods risks ruining your company’s reputation as you fail to keep promises or keep up with customer demands.

At one time, it may have been tolerable to manually track data by hand, but if you want your business to grow, you need to prepare for growth. This means having the ability to forecast your needs properly by implementing an inventory control system that offers data capture and custom tracking solutions or consider hiring a third party to implement a proper system if you can’t handle it on your own.

4) THE BAD HABIT: Not checking in often enough with your accountant
Let’s be honest. Unless you’re focused on accounting all the time, you aren’t going to get it. There are too many rules, and as your business grows, the rules only get more complicated.
Nonetheless, small business owners probably aren’t calling their accountant as often as they’re calling their attorney, banker or insurance agent. As a result, 32 percent or small business owners end up not even setting aside enough money to pay their annual income taxes.

Whether it’s managing your cash flow or better understanding of new laws and regulations in your industry, having a good, healthy relationship with your accountant is imperative if you want to be on the “inside scoop.”
Since accountants are so vital to the success of your business, you should check in often, probably monthly, so that any problems can be discussed immediately.
Also, always ask yourself if your accountant is the right person for the job. After all, they are handling every detail that either makes or breaks your business. Other questions you should ask yourself: Is your accountant aware of your goals? Is your accountant aware of transitional times in your business? Is your accountant up to date on laws and regulations?

5) THE BAD HABIT: Not protecting data
When we think about all of the sensitive data that companies collect, it’s ridiculous to think that businesses aren’t taking steps to protect that information. After all, how are you going to win back the trust of customers if the inevitable happens?
Here’s why data isn’t more protected: businesses underestimate the disastrous effects of a security breach. According to survey from  Shred-it Information Security Tracker, 69 percent of small-business owners are unaware or don’t believe that their company would be majorly impacted financially if hit with a data breach. This kind of mindset is dangerous—especially so for small businesses as 60 percent of cyber-crimes are directed at smaller institutions. Despite the magnitude of this security threat to a business, only 9 percent of small businesses have mobile security and less than half protect their email or Internet data.

Don’t wait for something bad to happen before you take action. Instead, smart business owners prepare ahead of time. Create social media policies, install software to 
monitor and protect data and networks, and have a backup plan in case a disaster hits. Ask yourself: can you recover lost files and access business records quickly if needed?

6)THE BAD HABIT: Not being relevant
Refusing to be relevant is business suicide—almost like failing to keep tabs on your competition. With all of the tools that today’s digital age offers, why not take advantage to give yourself a leg up? Some business owners may refuse to implement mobile marketing or a proper CRM tool because they believe their own system works. However, consumers are changing and the ones with increasing purchasing powers (millennials’ spending power is said to reach more than $200 billion annually starting in 2017) want a more seamless way to do business. This means digital tools are required for any business wanting to stay ahead.

Whether it’s CRM or business intelligence tools or email marketing or mobile marketing, don’t ignore what your competitors are doing and what your customers want. Forward-thinking business owners are continuously staying up-to-date in their industry—and surrounding industries—to make sure they don’t fall out of favor. For instance, 90 percent of U.S. smartphone users said the use their smartphones while shopping, so it’s a good idea for your business to have a mobile-optimized site and participate with retailer apps that offer deals or loyalty programs. If traditional advertising no longer convinces the modern consumer, but smart email marketing does, why not invest in a system that will increase your brand recognition while bringing in additional streams of income?

7) THE BAD HABIT: Refusing to change your plan
Plans are meant to be broken and while we know that every business needs a clear and realistic plan, it’s more important that business owners are flexible enough to change their plan based on the market, competitors and customers feedback. This might prove to be tough for some business owners who have spent countless hundreds or even thousands of hours planning a vision for their business’ future, but adapting quickly and surviving are instrumental in the competitive business world today.

It’s crucial to plan, but be prepared to abandon those plans if the evidence points you in a different direction. Once you start a business, it should no longer be your ego that’s most important, but, rather, you should focus on answering to your employees and customers. To feel better about letting go, hire the right people and train employees effectively so that you can trust their judgment when they tell you plans need to be changed.

8) THE BAD HABIT: Allowing poor health habits to keep you from reaching maximum potential
When it’s your business, it can be hard to know the boundaries between work and home life. After all, you’re probably thinking about your business every waking hour. Nonetheless, it’s important to your health—and the financial health of your business—if you’re on your best game since it’s estimated that between 80 to 90 percent of startups fail. Whether it’s working non-stop or creating an unhealthy office culture, what is it about your health habits that’s keeping your brain from working at its highest potential?

Do a careful inspection of your habits. Are you staying late in your office every night to finish work? Are you eating lunch at your desk every day? Doing so may be sending a clear message to your team that you expect everyone else to act the same way. If you’re sending emails in the middle of the night, what does this communicate to the rest of your team? Most likely, it’s saying that they should be logged in during off-hours or be in work mode constantly to answer your emails. While it may seem necessary to work as many hours as possible to get the work done, it’s also important to remember that working smarter, not harder always wins in the knowledge economy where creativity and innovation matters most.

Friday, 30 October 2015

5 Ways to Make Sure Your Live Chat Support Is Consistent

5 Ways to Make Sure Your Live Chat Support Is Consistent

Live chat is the most effective way to reach out to visitors of your website and also provide real-time support.
Still, the effectiveness of any live chat setup depends on several variables such as ease of use, training and — perhaps most importantly — consistency.

Just as with most things that require human intervention, some live chat agents perform better than others.
While there is nothing you can really do to make all agents perform at the same levels of efficiency or productivity, there are a few things that you do to at least ensure that your services are consistent in terms of procedures followed and expected practices.

Importance of Scripts

The most obvious way to provide consistent live chat support is to ensure that all of your agents are on the same page when it comes to greeting your visitors and addressing their needs.
The easiest way to ensure that your agents use appropriate greetings and language is to create a script.
A script is essentially a well-thought-out way of conveying information to visitors and customers of your website.

For instance, do you want your agents to be more formal when greeting visitors with a message like “Good Afternoon, welcome to our website. How may I assist you today?”? Or, do you want a less formal greeting like “Hi, how can I help you?”?
Scripts are not just for introductions, though, you can use them when pitching upgrades, memberships or purchases on your website.

Creating a script helps ensure that your agents mention the best aspects of your product or service and leave out irrelevant information.
Scripts can take some time to perfect, and may require changes or tweaks often and frequently.
If you’re having trouble producing an effective script, ask your top performing agents to chime and offer some ideas.

Use a script that replicates the success of your top agents to help others improve performance.

Shared Canned Messages and Links

Most live chat applications allow you to create canned messages and links that your agents can use to speed up replies and links sent to visitors on a regular basis.
Canned messages and links are one of the best features of an effective live chat application and can help increase efficiency and productivity considerably.
While canned messages and links can help speed up chat sessions, it’s also important that they convey a consistent tone among all your agents.

Better live chat applications allow you to create private and public canned messages.
Public canned messages are ones that managers or admins create and are accessible by all agents.
Private ones, on the other hand, are the ones that agents create themselves and which are not accessible by other users.
While private canned messages do help individual agents become more productive, public canned messages are much better for creating consistent messaging among your staff members.
For messages containing important details, such as sales pitches, using public canned messages can help ensure that all your agents touch the appropriate talking points during chats.

Training and Mock Support Sessions

Consistency in training is probably more important than anything else when it comes to preparing your agents to present the image you want to convey to your customers and visitors.
Consequently, using the same training materials and documents will go a long way in ensuring performance consistency among your agents.

Besides exposing your agents to the same or similar training methods, another very effective tool is mock support sessions.
Engaging with your agents one on one in mock chats, can help you get a first-hand feel how your staff members respond in certain situations and if they are using canned messages and links properly and according to your guidelines.

Recommended for you: 5 Tips on Training Your Live Chat Agents

Real-Time Monitoring

Better live chat applications have a feature that makes evaluating your agents quick and simple – real-time monitoring.
With real-time monitoring you can watch any conversation you choose simply by selecting it in the chat console or dashboard (depending on the live chat application you use.)
Real-time monitoring allows you to view all messages sent between visitors and agents, and then late use the conversations in training or for evaluation purpose.

If you’re not using a live chat application that supports real-time monitoring, you definitely should consider switching to one that does.
The best part of real-time monitoring is that it is truly a real-time tool – well, in better live chat systems anyway.
With real-time monitoring, a manager or supervisor can monitor conversations without being noticed by the agent or the visitor.
If he/she notices a problem, he can contact the agent directly via operator-to-operator chat or join the chat directly and chat with both the agent and the visitor.


If you’re not using the post-chat survey feature to record agent ratings for conversations, you’re missing out on an incredibly valuable training and review tool.
Ratings are created by your customers and visitors themselves and allow you to gauge how agents are doing with regard how well they interact with your customers.

Ratings can help you determine who your best agents are as well as those who may need additional training.
Ratings also keep agents on their toes if scores are reviewed frequently by administrators or managers.
Ratings also help you determine which agents are the friendliest or have the best customer-relation skills so that you can reward them or use them as examples for others to follow.

Friday, 9 October 2015

How to Provide 7/24 Live Chat Support with Limited Resources

How to Provide 7/24 Live Chat Support with Limited Resources

Implementing a good live chat system is one of the best investments you can make for your company’s website.
When it comes to cost-effective, user-friendly communication methods, traditional methods such as email and phone support fail miserably in comparison to live chat.

While live chat is indeed an extremely effective tool, it is not much use to your company if visitors cannot reach your support team. 

Therefore, in this post, I will give you a few ideas on how you can provide 7/24 live chat support in order to serve as many site visitors as possible whenever in need.
And most importantly, you don’t have to add extra resources to achieve that.


Prime Time in Your Target Zones

Hopefully, you have a good idea of who your Web customers are and where they are located. If you don’t, use Google Analytics or another tool to uncover this information. Better still, invest in a live chat program that provides this type of visitor information for you.

While customers in your immediate vicinity may not mind visiting your office during normal business hours, consumers on the Internet don’t play by the same rules and expect service and support all the time.

Consequently, live chat works best when it’s available 24 hours a day.
Even if you cannot provide real-time support 24/7, you should still make sure that your live chat is online and available at hours convenient to customers and visitors in your primary market areas and zones.
At a minimum, have an operator or two available during prime time hours in the primary zones. A good rule of thumb is to make your live chat operators available until at least 10 or 11 PM.

Take the Desk on the Road

As I mentioned in the previous section, you should make your live chat available as much and as often as possible.

One way to do this is to use a live chat platform that offers mobile apps for operators that let them answer chat requests even when they’re out of the office.
If your support staff is a little shorthanded, assign one or two agents to handle chat requests on an “On Call” basis, and don’t forget to reward them for providing great support even after hours.

Hire Global Help

Assigning staff members to handle live chat support on an “On Call” basis is effective if you have a relatively small number of support chat requests.

If you have a high volume of chat requests, though, you may want to consider hiring some full- time help to assist with the workload.

Instead of hiring full-time employees to handle afterhours and weekend chat request, consider outsourcing to freelancer or agencies.
Freelancer and support team agencies can learn your products and services and may help to reduce costs versus hiring full-time employees.

Freelancer-sourcing sites such as, and enable you to find skilled customer support and live chat agents from all over the world.
Another benefit of outsourcing or using freelancers is helps to cover times when your full-time team members are out of the office.

Using freelancers to handle live chat requests can help ensure that your site visitor have access to support 24 hours a day. 

Sunday, 6 September 2015

15 Essential Social Sharing Tools You Can Use to Distribute Your Content Quickly

If you’re like most people, you probably want your content to go viral. For your content to reach the maximum number of people possible, you need it to spread rapidly. And for it to spread rapidly,  you need the right tools for wide distribution. That’s why we’ve created a list of the 15 best tools to help you promote and distribute your social content. Check it out below!

1. Buffer: A simple and smart way to share and schedule your content on all of your social media platforms.
2. Swayy: A social media tool that drops content into a dashboard while making it easy for users to share across their social media.


3. LikeableHub: Last week, we reviewed LikeableHub in a blog post that can be read here. It’s an easy-to-use platform that includes distribution tools as well as management tools.
4. HootSuite: This popular tool allows for easy management among social media platforms while engaging audiences by location or language search.
5. Slideshare: This tool can generate slideshow content that can be embedded into multiple channels for a more engaging distribution strategy.
6. SimpleReach: This tool recently drove 500,000 visits to iQ by Intel over the course of a month. SimpleReach is a great distribution tool that can send your content out via almost any channel.
7. DynamicSignal: An employee-focused tool makes it easy for brands to source and distribute content that is received by users and posted onto their social media channels.


8. SocialToaster: This tool makes your content continuously shared by “Superfans” who are connected to all masses and platforms.
9. Percolate: An all-in-one marketing tool that enables campaigns to be synchronized across all online and offline channels through paid media.
10. Hubspot: Similar to HootSuite, Hubspot is an all-in-one marketing software platform with a Social Inbox feature that allows for managing, monitoring, scheduling, and publishing content to social media.
11. Storify: Connecting to countless social media platforms, Storify enables content to be embedded instantly and shared quicker.
12. GaggleAmp: GaggleAmp empowers all audiences, which include employees, partners, and customers to share your content via social media using a central distribution feature.


13. Sprout Social: Along with managing and scheduling content, a single intuitive Compose window allows for content to be published all at once to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+.

Sprout social.001

14. OnlyWire: With key features being automation, monitoring, and analytics, OnlyWire is a multi-user platform that distributes content automatically through an RSS feed or individual post.
15. Spredfast: This tool allows content to be published and engaged upon all popular social networks with great organization and alert features to keep you connected and engaged with your campaigns.


That should give you a sense of some of the top social sharing tools you can use to promote your content. What are your favorites? Have we missed any?

Monday, 24 August 2015

The 9 Best Facebook and Twitter Management Tools

One of the biggest challenges people face with Twitter and Facebook is time management. With the flurry of tweets and posts floating around on any given day, it’s difficult to keep track of everything. Which is why we’ve compiled a list of the top tools you can use to manage your Facebook and Twitter accounts.

These are just some of the tools that are included in our free e-book called 83 Top Social Media and Mobile Marketing Tools for Small- to Mid-Sized Business, so if you haven’t had a chance to download the e-book, feel free to do so now.
To kick things off, let’s start with the list of the top Facebook management tools:
  • Facebook Insights: This may seem a little obvious, but if you are managing a Facebook fan page, before you begin looking for more in-depth tools, make sure you check out your Facebook insights page to see how many people are participating, liking stories or leaving comments.
  • Sysomos Facebook Page Central: Facebook Page Central offers auto-moderation, email notifications of posts, a dashboard monitoring key metrics and sentiment, and identification of top fans and themes.
  • Vitrue: Vitrue helps you moderate the comments on your Facebook page, send targeted messages to people who have “liked” your company and more.
  • mediafeedia: This free service helps you schedule posts,  manage multiple accounts, set admins, create custom tabs and notifies you by email of activity on your fan page.
  • NorthSocial: Interested in supercharging your Facebook page with apps and promotions that help drive more traffic? Then you’ll want to check out NorthSocial, a powerful tool that can take your Facebook promotions to the next level.

And here are the tools you’ll want to investigate for your Twitter account:
  • Backtweets: A tool dedicated solely to Twitter, BackTweets provides reach and impressions stats, alerts you whenever someone tweets a link to your website, identifies influencers and integrates with Google Analytics to see how Twitter activity is affecting your website traffic.
  • BrandChirp: This service makes it easy to find the people you should be following. You can search for new followers by location, who they are following and keywords that they have recently tweeted about.
  • Buffer: Have you seen the Buffer sharing tool at the bottom of the 60 Second Marketer blog posts? Their tool allows you to schedule Tweets far out in advance. So, if you do a lot of your reading in the morning, but want to share with your followers throughout the day, you’d schedule your Tweets using Buffer.
  • SocialOomph: Social Oomph may not have the sexiest interface, but it allows you to automatically follow those who follow you and allows you to send direct messages automatically to new followers. Though this is essentially a Twitter tool, it works with Facebook, LinkedIn and other platforms as well.

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Why Your Business Needs Predictive Analytics

Predictive AnalyticsPredictive Analytics is a term commonly used in conjunction with ‘Big Data’, but without really understanding the meaning of the term, the concept can be pretty useless. So, let’s find out what exactly Predictive Analytics is and why it can be beneficial for your digital marketing campaigns.

Predictive Analytics is the use of data science for audience profiling. Generic audience profiling involves determining specific characteristics of your target audience and creating specific personas to represent each type of person within your target audience. Predictive analytics is essentially the same process, but from a data perspective.
By reviewing your past data you can determine key behavioural characteristics which determine the likelihood of whether or not a user is going to convert. By extracting these behavioural characteristics, you can build a formula which will allow you to calculate how likely a user on your website is to convert. This will allow you to determine which users are worth chasing and which aren’t so that you can ensure your marketing efforts are correctly targeted and your business is as profitable as possible.

Identifying Your Predictors

The driving behavioural characteristics within Predictive Analytics are known as predictors. These can be any behavioural characteristics which determine the likelihood of someone converting, for example; length of visit, location, etc. These predictors are then used within a model (a formula) which allows you to calculate the profitability of a specific type of user. Predictors should be combined within a model and the more predictors you use, the more accurate your analysis will be.
For example, let’s say your data shows you that proximity plays a role in conversions; i.e. the closer a user is to your premises the more likely they are to convert. Additionally, the longer a user spends on your website, the more likely they are to convert. In this scenario, you would use the formula;
Location + Visit Length = Conversion Probability
You would assign higher values to locations closer to your premise and then focus your marketing efforts on user types with a higher conversion probability.

The Models

There are three different ways (known as models) in which the practice of predictive analytics can be leveraged.
Descriptive Model – Analyses historical and current data to determine relationships and trends to identify what action needs to be taken moving forward. This is the model most commonly used in businesses.
Predictive Model – Analyse past data to determine how likely something is to happen. This model should be used when you have a specific desired outcome and you want to calculate the probability of that outcome taking place.
Prescriptive Model – Analyses all elements of the decision involving variables to predict the outcome of those decisions. This model looks at all possible outcomes of a decision and the likelihood that each will occur; allowing you to manipulate the situation to increase the probability of your desired outcome. This model is great when expanding your business as it can be used to understand what other potential products your users may be interested – so you can increase your product offering.
The model you choose would depend on the purpose of your analysis. However, one thing that is crucial in all instances is that before a model is implemented you must have an understanding of the goals and objectives you are looking to achieve from your analysis.

Your Business and Predictive Analytics

By implementing Predictive Analytics your business can gain a whole host of insights which otherwise may have gone missed. Obviously the way in which you deploy this method of analysis is completely dependent on the goals and objectives you are attempting to satisfy, but some key reasons for using Predictive Analytics are:
  • Identify user groups with the highest probability of converting so that you can create digital campaigns to target this specific audience.
  • Identify gaps in your existing product offering to expand your business in an informed, profitable manner.
  • Determine which user type are worth chasing. Just because you want your target audience to be a certain type of user, doesn’t necessarily mean that they are going to be the most profitable for your business.
  • Identify the likelihood that upcoming marketing campaigns are going to succeed to determine where or not they are worth the investment.

The Caveats

CaveatsA common misconception of Predictive Analytics is its ability to predict the future. Whilst your analysis will give you a more accurate view of the future than simply stabbing in the dark, it is important to remember that the analysis is based on probability, and therefore no analysis will ever be 100% accurate. There are several reasons why it’s not a fail-safe:
  1. Historical data is not a direct reflection of things to come – other variables are always being introduced which can influence trends moving forwards.
  2. When creating your Predictive Analytics model there may be unknown variables i.e. external economic issues, weather conditions.
  3. Models can easily be manipulated to show favourable data – as with all analysis it is possible to manipulate your model to show data which supports the argument you are trying to make.  It’s no coincidence there is so much conflicting research out there!
Because of these three factors, the revision of your model should be an ongoing process.  New variables should always be considered and introduced and testing should be carried out on a regular basis.

Some Examples

Let’s give you a few examples of where Predictive Analytics is used on an everyday basis, so you can fully understand the concept of use:
  • Amazon’s product recommendations – Amazon use previous purchases data and behavioural characteristics of users to determine what other products they may be interested in.
  • Facebook’s news feed – Facebook use behavioural characteristics to determine the probability that you will be interested in and interact with a certain post within your news feed. Those with a higher probability will be posted higher up on your news feed.
  • Email spam filtering – by analysing your past behaviour, email spam filtering uses data to determine the likelihood you’ll be interested in a particular email and whether or not it should be marked as spam.

So hopefully this has given you a good understanding of Predictive Analytics and why it can be beneficial for your digital campaigns.

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Everything You Wanted to Know about Pinterest Business Accounts

We all love Pinterest on a personal level, right? It is a fun idea, using visual media rather than the usual form of social blogging that we are used to.

As far as business applications are concerned we all know we should be utilizing Pinterest as the valuable tool it is. But because it is so specific (It’s all about visual content!) it can seem a bit intimidating. How do you actually use it? Does it really work?

The answer to the latter is a resounding ‘Yes!’ Pinterest has been used by many brands, big and small, to improve everything from visibility to traffic, and can even be leveraged into full sales conversions.
Due to the versatility of the tool itself, and the wide range of uses it will have from company to company, your success is directly proportional to the time and creativity you put into it.
Pinterest is not just for fun niches! Bank of America used Pinterest to gain lots of exposure:

In less than 5 months, BMH content on Pinterest reached nearly 6 million unique Pinners, generated more than 29 thousand repins and led to thousands of actions on


Pinterest Business Accounts

In many ways the business account is similar to the personal account. Where the differences lie are in the features, and there are some that are available only to businesses. These give a brand the tools it needs to properly make its mark on the network.
Pinterest Analytics (Free!)

First, there is the cool analytics feature. While there are third party platforms out there that will monitor analytics for you, and they work well enough, Pinterest has their own dashboard which is free (There’s no other free alternative for Pinterest, mind you). You will be able to watch patterns over time, and put together reports that show you how your pins are performing.
Once you have that data, you will be able to better narrow down a content strategy. What pins are being shared most? Which are engaging through comments or likes? Is there some visual component that seems to be matching, or is it the content itself the image is representing?

Analytics is especially important for seeing the success of the next business specific feature: rich pins. These are pins that can be filled out in a format more fitting to the content and user intent.
For example, recipes can be written in a recipe form, listing the ingredients and instructions under the image. Movies, books and other media can have ratings. Soundcloud files can be integrated to be played in the pins, as well as YouTube and Vimeo videos.
Perhaps the most vital is a rich pin for product selling. You can list prices and product specifics right in your pinnable image meaning that users will be able to see it’s a product to buy when clicking the image in a pin.

Product rich pin

Promoted Pins
Once you have posted your pins, you may be able to feature them. Promoted Pins was launched in 2014, and it is still a limited product. It works by allowing you to target specific audiences, which determines the cost. You only pay per visit that results from that pin.
You have to join a waiting list. While that is a shame, it is worth throwing your business on there for the chance to use this excellent promotional tool.

Buyable Pins
The most recent addition (and the one I still need to play with personally) looks very promising for retailers. Your buyers can buy from you directly from Pinterest.
Sounds like fun especially for emotional shopping 😉
You’ll need to sign up to the waitlist but you have no chance to be accepted unless you represent a business account.

How To Set Up A Pinterest Business Account

Now that you see the benefits, it is time to get started!
Step 1 – Sign Up as a Pinterest Business Account
Go to the Pinterest For Business page, and sign up for an account. If you already have a personal account you have set up for your brand, or you want to take a personal account and make it brand specific, you can convert it on the same page. This is great news for the many who got started before Pinterest released business pages.

Convert business

Once you have your account, it is time to optimize it. Provide your business name, a logo, and write an informative but simple, keyword rich description. Usually your slogan will be enough, along with an explanation of what you do.
You should also provide a URL to your website, and verify it with Pinterest so it shows as an active link on your profile.

Step 2 – Begin Building Your Pinterest Business Account
From there, it is similar to setting up a personal account. You want a wide range of related boards where you will pin your own content, as well as share others to drive traffic to your profile. Make sure all boards are using an attractive cover image, and have titles that match popular keywords.
Unlike other social media platforms, Pinterest is not limiting its business entities in any way: You are free to follow anyone and interact with anyone (be it a person or another business page) which helps a lot in growing your presence.

Begin using your account regularly, and watch it grow!
If you have other social media accounts (of course you do), you can promote your profile on them. You would be surprised by how many people will follow just because you took the time to ask. Which puts your content on their front page, and will increase the chances of them seeing your new pins.

Step 3 – Optimize Your Pinterest Business Account Strategy
Once upon a time, Pinterest was available on Hootsuite. For some reason, that is no longer the case. Which has given many people the false impression that there are no social dashboard tools for Pinterest.
There are actually several, but the most popular right now has to be Tailwind. It is a  more advanced analytics tool, scheduler and monitor. If you do have Hootsuite, you can add an app for Tailwind. So you can technically use it for Pinterest, if in a very roundabout and inconvenient way.
In any case, having a third party tool to improve your Pinterest use should be a requirement for all business accounts. The difference it makes is incredible


That is all it takes! Creating a Pinterest business account, or converting a personal one into a business account, it surprisingly easy. It is also a necessity for brands today, whether you are specializing in a tangible product, content, or a service.
With a bit of creativity, you can improve sales, traffic, and brand visibility. So get started on your Pinterest marketing strategy today with your own business account.

Thursday, 18 June 2015

6 Critical Content Marketing Services You Should Provide


Inbound marketing-dominated organizations experience a 62lower cost per lead than traditional marketing-dominated organizations. And at the heart of all inbound organizations, you'll find content. 

Blog articles, ebooks, infographics, videos, case studies, social media messages, emails ... the list goes on.

To spread awareness for the inbound movement and the value of branded content, it's your agency's job to not only adopt the methodology, but also encourage your clients to do so as well. 
Your single point of focus should always be to help grow your clients' businesses, so providing services that cater to their content marketing -- and lead generation -- needs is a must.
We've detailed a list of content marketing services you can offer to provide them with to help them achieve their inbound goals.

6 Content Marketing Packages to Offer Your Clients

1) Content Strategy

While many eager clients will want to dive right into content production, it's important that you reel them back in by reminding them of the importance of a sound content marketing strategy.
The development of a strategy will help you to generate a better understanding of where they stand currently and what they need to do to get to where they want to be.
One of the most important parts of this process is organizing the development of buyer personas. Even if your client already has them in place, it's important that you evaluate their quality and identify ways to strengthen them. This is a critical first step, as the personas you create will then be used to guide the direction of future content creation.

Aside from personas, you'll also want to perform an audit of the client's existing content. Many businesses will have a handful of ungated whitepapers or a dozen blog articles that could be repurposed or reformatted to provide you with a starting point for content creation.
Once you have a sense of what you want to publish, you'll also want to set them up with a way to organize their content efforts. We recommend building a content marketing editorial calendar. Depending on the amount of content they intended to publish, this could be broken down into separate calendars -- blog, social media, and email.
This is a critical step because it helps both you and the client visualize progress, frequency, publishing patterns, etc.

2) Content Creation

"We don't have time to create content."
"Our industry is far too boring for us to create anything of interest to anyone."
"Our audience doesn't use social media."
Sound familiar?

Oftentimes, the concept of creating content can be incredibly overwhelming for businesses that are used to traditional marketing methods. By offering content creation services, you can demonstrate the value of content by walking them through the options that are going to deliver the greatest return.
While the mediums you employ may vary based on the client or industry, most businesses will benefit from a blend of blogging, email, social media, and premium content creation. We suggest revisiting the brand's buyer personas at this stage to determine which types of content would be the best fit based on where the client's audience hangs out online.

Whether you're outsourcing content or leveraging an in-house content team, you need to be sure that those creating the content are well-versed in the client's business and unique needs. This well help to ensure that the content feels authentic and is aligned with the goals.

3) Content Optimization

Today's consumers aren't being shy about doing their own research.
If your clients want to be sure that their content is being found by those looking for solutions to their problems online, they need to be aware that creating the content is only half the battle. Content needs to be both visible and optimized for it to make an impact on the business's bottom line.
With a content optimization service, you can help your clients achieve increased visibility and conversions by using keyword research, SEO best practices, user behavior, and competitive insight to inform their strategy.

However, it's important for both you and the client to understand that optimization isn't a "task" that can be easily crossed of your list. When approaching content marketing optimization as a service, you'll want to think of it more like an ongoing process.

4) Content Promotion

If businesses are looking to get their content into the right hands at the right time, a content promotion strategy is necessary to help them get there.
Aware that many businesses currently operate within the "if we build it, they will come" mentality, it's important that agencies are focused on offering a service to help clients expand their current reach.

While there are an overwhelming number of outlets for content distribution, being able to identify which ones generate the greatest return will save time and budget. This should start with an analysis of the client's current distribution channels, and it should include an understanding of how competitors are promoting their own content.
While this will typically include channels like email and social media, you can use the buyer personas to uncover alternative platforms that might have been overlooked.
Another effective option is to help the brand to connect with industry influencers who would be interested in sharing the content. This can help to expand the client's reach in her industry, and it provides instant credibility for the brand.

5) Content Maintenance

Having stale, outdated content is worse than having no content at all.
Let's say your client has a post they published months (maybe even years) ago that is still driving a significant amount of traffic. If that content is left untouched and becomes outdated, it's likely that visitors that land on the piece of content won't get what they need, and as a result, they'll leave unsatisfied.

If the business's website content hasn't been updated in several years (this isn't uncommon), you should start by making a note of which pages should be prioritized based on the business goals.
If your client seems a little skeptical about the importance of this service, be sure to explain to her that Google loves fresh content.
Swapping out outdated statistics with fresh ones, removing old screenshots, or replacing internal links with more relevant ones will reinvigorate the brand's content.

6) Content Reporting

There's an old business proverb that says, "You can't manage what you can't measure."
Offering content marketing reporting services will provide your clients with numbers they need to adjust their content marketing strategy so it aligns with what's actually working.
While most marketing software platforms are capable of delivering a wide range of reports, you'll want to narrow your focus to avoid bogging the client down with too much information.
To do so, you'll want to first determine what success looks like to her business.
Does it mean driving more traffic? Increasing social engagement? Doubling webinar registrants?
This will help you identify more meaningful KPIs and set well-defined goals based on these indicators. Then, when it comes time to run a report, you'll know exactly what information the client wants and needs to know.

Saturday, 6 June 2015

Slideshare Content Creation and Marketing Checklist

Want to make it on Sideshare? You should, it is one of the most under-praised yet powerful tools out there right now. Since LinkedIn stepped up and took it under their wing, it has even more social clout. Professionals that want to connect with other industry powerhouses should be jumping on board, stat.

The problem is that not many users know how to make it really work for them. Which is fitting, given how few understand how to use LinkedIn, either. It was a match made in heaven.

Luckily, it isn’t rocket science. You can learn to use Slideshare correctly through experience, trial and error. But to get you started, try this helpful checklist for both content creation and marketing your presentations on the platform.


Before You Get Started

  1. Know your audience. Who is it you are trying to connect with, exactly? Are these high ranking CEO’s in massive corporations? Peers in your industry? Potential employers? Potential customers? Because it is a versatile platform, it will have a versatile group of users. Target the right demographic for your needs.
  2. Ask what you have to offer. This is not a blog. You can’t recycle the same tired advice and have it take off because you gave it a snazzy name. You are among two major groups: experts and wannabe experts. So to be seen as valuable there you will have to give them something both high quality, and that they haven’t seen before (at least in the way you present it).
  3. Outline: Make sure you have a clear idea of what you are going to say in the Slideshare (I usually re-purpose the subheadings from my article to make the outline). Otherwise, you’ll waste lots of time moving the slides around.
  4. Decide on your slide number. This is important, because it is easy to get carried away when you go into creating a Slideshare presentation without some kind of guideline beforehand. Take a look at other popular presentations to see how many slides they average.


Your Content

  1. KISS. The real challenge of creating a Slideshare presentation is cutting down your information into the simplest possible format, with the fewest possible words. You don’t want more than a sentence or two, or a small bullet point of information. You have to deliver all info in a rapid fire way. If it takes more than a couple seconds to get through a slide, it is too complicated.
  2. Design (Know your tools!) Most important thing: Make sure your slides are readable when they are zoomed out (that’s how many people will watch it through Slideshare). Having visuals, readable font and colors are great ways to make it more eye catching. Don’t clutter! Too many elements will quickly overpower the content itself, and work against you. Try to keep it clean and attractive, and make sure everything is relevant. If in doubt, stay away from images for anything but a cover background. Your viewer’s will thank you for not having yet another eyesore presentation for them to tolerate in order to get to your information. Here are great tools to create the presentation. Optimize!
  3. Use an essay format. A quick way to get your point across is to use an essay format for the slides. For example, you would start with a cover image with the title, then the next slide would tell them the points you will be making. Then each slide after explains each point. The final presentation slide will give your conclusion and tie it up nicely so there are no loose ends. The last slide will be your CTA, which we will discuss in the marketing portion of this post.
  4. Ask for feedback. Sometimes we can get blind to problems in our content because we have put so much heart into it. That is why third party feedback is so crucial. Ask a couple of people you know and trust what they think. Pick them for having different strengths; one for aesthetics, such as a designer; one from your industry to check over your information; one with no industry experience to see if the language and explanations are clear enough for a layman to understand. Don’t take criticism personally, but instead use it to inform any useful changes that could improve your content.

Marketing Your Presentations

  1. Direct people to other content. This is one of the single most things you can do in a Slideshare: redirect. Create links that open in new tabs and go to either other Slideshare posts, or other relevant content you think the viewer might benefit from/enjoy. Don’t overdo it, instead providing one to three. This one action can vastly improve your traffic and visibility.
  2. Create a CTA slide. As mentioned before, a CTA slide is an important inclusion to your presentation. It does not have to be counted as part of your slide count. Decide where you want to direct conversions: communication and engagement? Social media? Your website? Product pages? Your Slideshare profile? Don’t overcrowd the slide, but provide a few conversion efforts there, so you can make the most of your content.
  3. Gather emails. LinkedIn enacted a feature on Slideshare called LeadShare. You can ask people for their email addresses in order to download your content. This is a quick and easy way to build a viable list of leads, and to start an email marketing campaign. That can extend well beyond your slideshows, so it is a must for anyone that wants to really kick things up a notch. It is available for Pro members, which is a cost efficient way to build an email list.
  4. Embed your Slideshare presentations. This is a no brainer. Your blog is a great place to embed Slideshare posts, as are guest posts from sites that don’t mind the redirect. Make sure you are promoting anywhere you can.
See? It isn’t difficult. Just follow the checklist above and before you know it you will have an awesome campaign running based around Slideshare content. It is one of the best ways you can use visual and rapid fire data to promote yourself and your brand. Not to mention a platform that isn’t as crowded as Twitter, Pinterest or Facebook.

Have any tips to add to the checklist? We would love to hear them, so share them in the comments below! 

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

The Art of Making Customers Happy on Social Media. [Part 2]

 Continued from last post...

3. Make a connection

From a high level view, this strategy comes down to your perspective with social media.
It’s an honor and a privilege for someone to reach out to you on social media, amid the millions of other profiles and accounts to connect with.
When someone chooses to chat with you, be grateful, and respond.
Zappos, well known for its awesome customer service over the phone and online, has the following response numbers:
  • Response Time:  < 20 min
  • Response Rate: 100 percent
Yes, they reply to everyone!
In the book Traction, Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares talk about 19 traction channels to help gain more customers. One of these channels is unconventional PR, which includes customer service.
You can be so great at customer service that it becomes free, unconventional PR for your brand!

Consider: The average top brands worldwide tweet at least 12 times a day, and 54 percent of these brands are sending less than one @-reply per day.

There’s a lot of room to improve (and stand out) amid those numbers.

What this might look like in practice

When possible, connect 24/7 with your audience.
When not possible—and totally understandable if you’re a small business or a one-person team—communicate your availability.

Zappos does the 24/7 thing in a cool way by having their Twitter support team say hello and good-bye as they change shifts.

American Express gives us a good example of how to communicate when you turn off for the night.
Another way to make a one-to-one connection or conversation is through Direct Message.
Our co-founder Leo wrote a great article on Social Media Examiner about Twitter and customer service, and he laid out this quick 3-step guide for what to do when you’re communicating with your many people in your audience about a similar topic or bug.
Send one public tweet explaining the situation. Anyone who finds your Twitter profile will see that tweet first.
Then, reply to any @mentions with a DM. First, you won’t clutter your business’s Twitter stream with @replies for other customers looking for what is going on. Second, you can go into more detail explaining how you can help each customer.
Switch back to sending @replies if there is no acute problem anymore, but only regular questions and support requests.
DMs are also extremely useful when a simple @reply doesn’t give all of the information the customer needs.
DMs are also a great alternative to the “please send an email to” line. You make a connection with your customer without sending them elsewhere to talk to you and dragging out the process unnecessarily.

What happens if you don’t

Not only do you risk alienating your community by not responding, you can also create harmful reactions to your brand. A research study in the Academy of Management found that companies who accepted responsibility for a problem saw favorable responses. Those who were slow in responding to complaints did not. It’s all a quite intuitive conclusion, though interesting to see backed by research in addition to intuition.

4. Be specific

This strategy is one borrowed from email marketing, where specificity—often seen in the form of segmentation and personalization—is a key driver of higher open rates and clickthrough rates.
A study by Jupiter Research found that relevant emails drove 18 times more revenue than general, broadcast emails.

Shane Snow and Jon YouShaei tested specificity in a series of cold emails, changing things like the subject line and the thank you message to see what worked best. Of the cold emails, sent in impersonal batches, only 1.7% of people replies, 12 out of 700.
Following the study, Shane cold emailed a single contact with a highly personalized email. He got a reply.

Here’s the email Shane sent:
Subject: Shook your hand at NextJump, would love your advice
Fantastic presentation at NextJump yesterday! I was thrilled to shake your hand and say “thanks” right before you ran out. I was also happy to see your book hit the Print+Ebook bestseller list in the Times Book Review last week. The world needs this message.
I feel apprehensive asking you this, since I know you have plenty of opportunities to give already, but I wanted to know if, when the frenzy dissipates, you would be willing to coach me a bit on the work I’m doing for my first book? I just signed an exciting deal with HarperCollins (my editor, Hollis Heimbouch, works with Clayton Christensen and Jim Collins) for a book that I’m hoping will help a LOT of people. (It’s inspired, in fact, by XXXpersonal storyXXX.)
I’d love to tell you more about the book, which is provisionally titled Smartcuts, and pick your brain for one of my chapters. But most of all, I’d be delighted to get your advice on managing the whole process as well as you have. Perhaps we can grab a few minutes at your office or here in New York sometime?
Best wishes,


What this might look like in practice

Replying with specificity to your customers is a wonderfully smart and simple habit to get into. All it takes is a bit of notice.
When someone mentions you on Twitter, you can click on their username to see a popover with their bio and information.

twitter bio

What you might get from here:
  • Location – “Hope the weather’s great in Boston!”
  • Website – “Love the design on your site. :)”
  • Favorite teams – “How’re the Red Sox doing?”
  • School or alma mater – “Go ‘Cats!”
  • Interests/passions – (attach a picture or gif)
  • Work – “Hope all’s going great at CompanyX!”
From the above bio of Todd’s, I can tell with just a bit of Google searching and Twitter clicking that he’s based in Boston, he does content for a consulting company, he teaches at Bryant University (“Go Bulldogs!”), and he loves running and dogs.

What happens if you don’t

There aren’t too many downsides to an impersonal Twitter response. A response, any response, is better than none.
Personalization is what can help take your conversations from everyday to extraordinary. If you aim to delight your customers at every turn, then personalization in your social media replies is a great route to consider.


5. Say their name

“Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” ~ Dale Carnegie
A Ball State study found that addressing customers by their real name is considered a best practice of brands on social media.

And certainly, the psychology backs it up.
“You” or your name is considered to be one of the five most persuasive words in the English language.

Some of the biggest brands in the world rely on this personal touch with their interaction. In the book High-Tech, High-Touch Customer Service, Micah Solomon shares an acronym used by Apple to help inform its customer conversations.
Apple takes the overall goal to … “Present a solution for the customer to take home today.” 
And they seek to achieve this with the following acronym:
A – Approach customers with a personalized, warm welcome
P – Probe politely to understand all the customer’s needs
P – Present a solution for the customer to take home today
L – Listen for and resolve any issues or concerns
E – End with a fond farewell and an invitation to return
apple service acronym


What this might look like in practice

In most cases, the customer’s first name will be easy enough to find on their profile. Twitter bios, for instance, allow for a username (the @-handle the person chooses) and for a first and last name.

twitter bio names

Take a quick peek at the name before replying, and you can easily add it in to your tweet or comment.

What happens if you don’t

Like personalized messages, adding someone’s name is neither a deal-maker nor a deal-breaker. It’s just another nice touch. And all these nice touches could very well add up to something quite meaningful over time.

Over to you

What strategies have you found most helpful in replying to people on social media?
I’d love to learn any of your tips on the subject. Feel free to leave any thoughts at all here in the comments!

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

The Art of Making Customers Happy on Social Media (Part 1)

If you sell something online or if you run a business with an online presence—even if you’re just having a good time growing your personal brand—you’ll have the honor and the privilege of chatting directly with customers. 24 hours a day. 7 days a week.

This always-on mentality is an amazing privilege, and at the same time it can provide some challenges for small businesses. How can you best respond when conversations are happening constantly? And what if they’re not all positive?

How do you manage to make customers happy on social media?
I discovered a few tips that might help out here, some strategies and insights that are backed by a fair bit of research. There’s an art to making customers happy on social media, and the good news: There’s also a recipe.
Here’s what’s involved.

customer happiness

The 5-part recipe for making customers happy on social media

These are the five parts I’ve encountered in my research on customer happiness. It’s interesting to note also that the order here is somewhat important: Listen before you respond, for instance.
1. Listen carefully
2. Respond quickly
3. Make a connection
4. Be specific
5. Say their name

make customers happy social media

1. Listen carefully

You focus on listening rather than responding

Among the 10 Buffer values, seldom is there crossover between the specific phrasing of a value and the naming of a social media marketing strategy. We’re grateful for the overlap with listening.
Social listening is the process of finding the meaningful conversations and insights from all your mentions on social media.

In particular, these elements from our Buffer value seem to really resonate when it comes to successful social listening.
You seek first to understand, then to be understood
You focus on listening rather than responding
buffer culture values listen

I really love the way that Lolly Daskall outlines the importance of listening as it relates to business and leadership. I think her description rings true for social media as well.
We listen to learn.
We listen to stay informed.
We listen to understand.
We listen to gain information.
We listen to acquire knowledge.
We listen to obtain wisdom.
Listening carefully comes in a couple of phases:
  1. Finding the conversations
  2. Pausing to listen to what’s being said
In terms of finding the conversations, there was some really neat research done by Mention, who analyzed over one billion brand mentions tracked through their tool.
They found that 92 percent of people talking to brands have fewer than 500 followers. So you should listen for more than just big influencers.
They also saw that 30 percent of tweets containing company names don’t use the company’s twitter handle. So you should listen for multiple keywords and variations beyond just your username.

Mention company names on Twitter


What this might look like in practice

There are a number of useful tools you can put together into a social listening dashboard.
Mention is one of our favorites, as it’s able to track just about any variation of you or your brand name, as well as keywords, phrases, and hashtags. One cool tip is to sync up Mention with Feedly to build a listening dashboard, alongside your RSS consumption.

Additionally, you can dive quite deep into Twitter using Twitter’s built-in Advanced Search. You can drill down into specific accounts or hashtags or keywords, including going way back into the archives if needed.

What happens if you don’t

When conversations happen about your brand on social media, you have the chance to get involved and make a positive impression on those talking about you.
If you miss those opportunities, you miss the chance to make an impression. You miss the chance to provide answers or solutions or to steer the conversation in a meaningful direction.
And to go a step further, people might not think you listen or care. Brands that never respond not only fail to make a positive impression, they can sometimes make a poor one with their silence.

2. Respond quickly

Customers expect a response on Twitter within 60 minutes

Twitter is perhaps the most real-time of the major social networks, with the half-life ot tweets measured in minutes.
Consumers expect this rapidity to extend to their conversations with you, too.
Research by Lithium Technologies found that 53 percent of users who tweet at a brand expect a response within the hour. The percentage increases to 72 percent for those with a complaint.


If you can pull of this quick feat (tips on this are below), you’ll go a long ways toward setting yourself apart. Few companies are able to answer so speedily.
study done by Simply Measured found that nearly all brands—99% of them—are on Twitter and 30% have a dedicated customer service handle. Still, the average response time was 5.1 hours with only 1 out of 10 companies answering within an hour.

What this might look like in practice

Monitoring and listening with the tools mentioned above will be a great start for replying fast.
Additionally, tools like Must Be Present can help you track your response time on Twitter, or you can invest in software like Spark Central to stay on top of your customer support tweets.
If you’ve got a big team of support heroes, then a third-party tool like Spark Central is a great route to go.

If it’s just you, then you might look into the notification settings for your social network. For instance, with Twitter, you can sign up for Twitter email alerts and customize them so that you only receive the messages that you’d like—for instance, @-replies or new follows.

What happens if you don’t

Mark Granovetter in the American Journal of Sociology presented his social network theory that visualizes people as nodes. Those who are connected through a relationship are a single link away, while distant relationships are only a few links away.

Granovetter’s theory came out in 1973, well before the advent of social media (or the modern Internet, even), yet it still applies directly to the power of networking on Twitter, Facebook, and the rest. As a follow-up to Granovetter’s theory, a trio of UK researchers observed that most people are no more than six links away from any other person.

Put another way, word of a poor Twitter experience can spread far and fast. 
Jeremy Waite found that a tweet can spread from one person to 2.7 million within four generations—which is great for the amazing content you produce and share, and good to keep in mind for the conversations you have as well.

Monday, 4 May 2015

2 Tools to Better Follow-up with Social Media Conversation (Minimal Style)

Social media is more than just a lot of fun. It has literally changed the way we communicate, giving us a new platform with its own set of etiquette, limitations and overall conduct. We can meet people we never would have known, speak to friends and family in an instant from anywhere in the world and even connect to entertainment or commercial brands we would not have known about. The applications for small businesses and independent projects have been especially intense.

But has anyone else noticed how annoying notifications are? It doesn’t matter if you are using Facebook, Twitter or Google+, the system never seems to work exactly right. I know that I miss a lot of responses and feedback, simply because the notifications don’t read on certain pages. Making me miss out on what could have been a really interesting conversation.

The good news is that there are apps out there that allow you to catch those comments and read them all in one place. Which means no more going from platform to platform and hunting down your replies in giant threads to figure out if anyone spoke back to you. Isn’t that cool?
While I have heard of multiple programs that do this, I have only ever used two myself.



The best way I can describe the interface of this program is a Gmail inbox. It isn’t exactly the same, but it has a lot of similarities that remind me of one. The overall layout is very close to that email service, and so is the way it opens. It will even bunch multiple comments from one person together, with a mention of how many replies are located before you open it up.

As for organization, the folders work in the same way. You have the main inbox, and then priority and an important folder, respectively. Then starred, sent, archive and a contacts page for managing who you know from each social media site.
In addition to reading messages that connect from different social media services, you can compose messages, as well. All from your inbox, which is a pretty cool feature.



What I love most about this program is that they have a Gmail extension for Chrome. Otherwise, the many compatible programs (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Flickr, Gmail, ect) is a great benefit to using Engagio.
Rather than an inbox, is functions like a social media dashboard. Though it does have an inbox section as well, used for notifications whenever you have a new message or activity somewhere on your accounts. You can compose messages and contact people through this inbox.

Otherwise, go to your dashboard to see the social media feeds of everyone you have followed. It should show them all, from each platform. The only annoying thing about this is that when you sign up, they will immediately add you to the follow list of nine people. Which you will have to manually remove if you don’t want them.

Some other cool features are the engagement portions of the dashboard. There is one box for websites where your friends are engaging. Then another one for articles where they are engaging. So you get to see where they have communicated around the web using their different social media sign ons. It is an interesting way to both find content to interest you, and to get a look into their own enjoyment, without the limitations of them having to like a Facebook page or post a link on Twitter.

The Tool FanMix Engagio
Yes (multiple Twitter accounts) Yes(multiple Twitter accounts)
Yes Yes
Facebook Pages
Yes Yes
Yes Yes
Google Plus
Not yet Yes
Not yet Yes
Hacker News
Not yet Yes
Not yet Yes
Not yet Yes
Yes Yes
Reputation management
Tracker (add any keyword and see new results each time you log in) Search social inbox and enable instant search alserts!
Prioritizing features
Priority inbox (both manually starred messages and automatically deemed as important go there) Priority filter


Maybe in time the notification systems for different social media sites will be improved. Maybe they will even further link the different platforms for better cross-site communication between users. But until that day, these two helpful services can really get you past the little annoyances involved.