6 IFTTT Recipes To Save Time and Increase Effectiveness on Social Media

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As you know, social media management can eat up a big chunk of your business day even when you are mindful of your time.  So when there are tools available to help save you time, why wouldn’t you use them?

Here are 6 IFTTT recipes that will save time and increase your effectiveness on social media. They are very easy to set-up. (For more information on IFTTT see this article: IFTTT – Possibly My Favorite New Toy)

Images

When you post an image on Instagram, you can hit the Twitter share button to send it to Twitter. Doing it from the app causes it to appear as a link on Twitter and not an image. A better way to do this is to use the follwoing recipe that allows the image to appear as native on Twitter.  True images get more engagement.

picture of IFTTT recipe for sending Instagram photos to Twitter

Because some folks are noticing that some of their Instagram images are disappearing and some social media accounts are being hacked, it’s a good idea to keep a back-up of your Instagram images. If you use Dropbox, you can use this recipe to automatically save any image that you post to Instagram into your Dropbox. (Find that recipe here.) picture of recipe for IFTTT instagram to Dropbox

 

Automated Twitter List Building

Frankly, I think Twitter lists are a necessary evil.  They are time-consuming but necessary in order to quiet a lot of the noise on Twitter.  Here are 3 automated ways to build your lists.

The first is to build a Twitter list from a specific hashtag.  So for instance, let’s say that you are a participant in a weekly chat. You could use that hashtag (ex. #BufferChat) to build a list of all its participants.  You could also build a list of those attending a certain event by utilizing the event hashtag to build it.  (You can use this recipe more than once and you can find it here.)

 

 

picture of recipe for building a Twitter list from a hashtag

 

You could also build a list of people whose tweets you have favorited.  When I find someone that I want to remember but don’t have time right at that moment to add them to a particular list, I just favorite one of their tweets. This adds them to the “Tweets I’ve Favorited” list so that I can go back later and place them into a more suitable list. (Here’s the recipe for this action.)

picture of the recipe for adding a person to a lists of favorites

Another way to create a Twitter list is by adding users who @mention you.  If they have taken the time to mention you, you’ll want to keep them on your radar as a possible connection or conversation. (You’ll find this one here.)picture of recipe for add people who mention you to a Twitter list

Curating Content

Pocket is a great place to store articles to read later or to share with your audience.  This recipe will send the articles that you favorite on Pocket straight to Buffer to be sent to your social media platforms at an optimal time.  This is a huge time-saver! (There is a Chrome extension for Pocket so that whenever you find an article of interest on the web, you can save it in your Pocket. If you use Feedly to curate your content, you can send to Pocket from there, as well.) Here’s the recipe to do this.

IFTTT pocket fav to bufferThese are my favorites for use on social media. Do you have any favs of your own?  I’d love to hear about them.

How and Why to Set Up 2-factor Authentication For Your G-Mail Account

2 step

I explained in this article that social media accounts (no matter the fan/follower amounts) were being kidnapped by hackers and held for ransom and how it could ruin your online presence.

One of the ways to prevent this from happening is by using 2-factor authentification for your e-mail and social media profiles. Yes, it requires an additional step, but it’s worth the extra effort to protect your social media accounts and your personal information.

What is 2-factor authentification?

According to Dr. Dan Manson, professor of computer information systems at Cal Poly Pomona and host of The CyberFed Show, a 2-factor authentification contains 2 of these 3 items: something you know, something you have and something you are.

  • something you know = a password or PIN
  • something you have = a card or an e-mail address or a log-in or a phone
  • something you are = a fingerprint or a retina scan or proof of I.D.

Dr. Manson feels that security questions are not really a 2-factor authentification because these answers can be learned or guessed.  This is precisely what social engineers (hackers) are doing to get into your accounts: guessing answers to your security questions.

G-mail offers 2-factor authentification by combining something you know (your password) with something you have (your phone). With 2-step verification, you’ll get a short numeric code (verification code) on your phone (mobile or landline). You’ll then enter this code in addition to your username and password (even on your laptop or desktop). (If you wish, you can set it so that you will only be asked for your verification code on that device every 30 days.)

To set up 2-factor authentification, go to your settings page (or go here) on your G-mail account and click “using 2-step verification”.  Next, click “set up 2-step verification”. Follow the directions that you see on your screen in order to set up the 2-step verification code option. You have the option to receive a text message or a voice-call to your landline or mobile device or you can use the Google authenticator app on your Android, Blackberry or iPhone.

You will also set up 2 back-up options for receiving verification codes in case  your phone is lost or stolen.

Go and do this now, while it’s still fresh in your mind! Is it perfect? No. But it MAY save you hours, weeks, even years of trouble down the road!

Other places where you can (and should) set up 2-step authentification are:

  • Evernote
  • Dropbox
  • Apple iCloud
  • Google Drive
  • One Drive
  • Most banks (although not Wells Fargo)
  • Amazon web services
  • Google cloud platform
  • Microsoft Azure
  • Basecamp
  • Campfire
  • Mailchimp
  • Hipchat is working on it
  • SalesForce
  • Outlook.com
  • Yahoo Mail
  • YouTube
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • (For a continuously updated list, check this site.)

Are You Protecting Your Social Media Investments From Hackers?

 

Are You Protecting Your Social Media Investments from Hackers?

Late last week the Instagram account of Base Body Babes was hacked and 765 carefully captioned images disappeared before their very eyes. The new “owner” of the account changed their name, deleted their images and began posting their own images with a kidnapped audience of 559,000 followers. They are not the only victims of hijacked Instagram accounts.

Fitness expert, Chalene Johnson had her Instagram account with over 400.000 followers hacked, as well. They were also in control of her Twitter account and literally began taunting her on it and telling her that they were now in contol. (There is much more to her story but the FBI is currently involved so much of it is not being shared yet.)

This is not just happening to those with large follower and fan bases. It is happening to small business owners, as well. These so-called “social engineers” are hacking accounts and extorting fees from the owners of accounts in exchange for transfer of ownership back to the original owner. They feel that small businesses will pay the fees and won’t go to the police. They also feel that small business owners don’t know enough about technology to be able to fix the problem themselves.  All these social engineers need is just ONE password to get into your e-mail account in order to be able to attack ALL your social media accounts.  You may feel confident about being secure because you think that you have a pretty safe and not likely-to-be-guessed password but that’s where you’re wrong. They’re not guessing passwords; they’re guessing answers to your security questions. They are able to guess these answers by watching your social media sites!

This is a crime that has reached epidemic proportions. Facebook reports that over 600,000 accounts are compromised EVERY day.  47% of Americans have had their personal information compromised.

Protecting your personal information is incredibly important but in this article, I’m only referring to your social media investments. How long and how much work has it taken you to grow your accounts? How much content do you have stored on your accounts (think about all those images on Instagram and/or Pinterest)? How many connections are made available to you by having these accounts and what would you do if they suddenly disappeared (This is one reason why having an e-mail list is so important)?

No one can be completely safe but there are things you can do to protect your investment. These items will take you some time to set up but they are worth the effort and time expenditure and may help to prevent the loss of years of work.

1. Update your software on ALL devices: your PC, your blog plug-ins, your tablet, your laptops, your Kindle or similar devices, your smart phones, etc.  Don’t forget to update the outdated devices that you have lying around to use as spares.

Adobe Flash is a very important one to consider. But do NOT update when the pop-up appears – it may be a scam and that may be exactly how you become vulnerable.  Go to their website to update and set up auto-updates.

“Update all of your apps! While some updates are improvements, most of the updates are security patches. Be sure to update as soon as available.

2. Get a password manager and install it on all devices.

A password manager is like an online wallet for your valuable information. Create a strong initial password for this one and you must remember your password to this application because it is not stored.

According to Wikipedia “Password managers usually store passwords encrypted, requiring the user to create a master password; a single, ideally very strong password which grants the user access to their entire password database. Some password managers store passwords on the user’s computer, whereas others store data in the cloud. While the core functionality of a password manager is to securely store large collections of passwords, many provide additional features such as form filling and password generation.

Password managers also have browser extensions for FireFox, Chrome and Safari.

DISABLE the auto-fill for passwords. Use your password manager’s browser extension instead.

Some to consider are LastPass, 1Password, KeepPass, and Roboform

*After you install your password manager, update all your passwords with unique passwords generated by your app.  Also, update your security questions with more unique passwords generated by your app because real answers to security questions increase your chances of being hacked!

3. If you have an iPhone 6 or above, set up the Apple fingerprint!  (Android will be adding this feature soon.)

4. Do not choose the “log in with your Facebook account” or “log in as Twitter” options. Be sure to log in using your password manager.

5. Take a look at your e-mail service. Is it as safe as it could be?  Perhaps Hotmail (is that even around anymore) or Yahoo are not the safest options. Gmail has 2 factor authentication so it is more reliable.

6. Check your cloud storage (iCloud, Dropbox, Evernote, etc.)  Cloud storage sites have an increasing number of hacks.

Enable 2-step authentication for these – require a code in addition to your password.

7. Phone – Turn off the apps you don’t need.

Apps are great but they are security risks. Delete the ones that you don’t need. (I am SO guilty of keeping too many apps on my phone. Deleting the unused ones has become a priority.)

8. Facebook and Twitter – sign up for 2-factor authentification.  (The one drawback for this is that if you ever change your phone number, it’s a hassle to have it changed, but probably less of a hassle than the things that would have to be done after a cyber hack.)

Instagram is very susceptible to being hacked so be sure to use your password manager when signing in.

9. Set up an IFTTT recipe to have your Instagram images automatically sent and saved in your Dropbox. You can find that here  You could also use Instaport to save all your Instagram images to your hard drive.

10. Check your Facebook privacy settings and determine what is the most amount of privacy you could opt for without damaging your social engagement and reach.

11. Consider using SocialSafe to back up your social media date. At $27.99 per year for 20 accounts, it’s extremely inexpensive and easy to manage.

12.  Messaging – Use a messaging service that supports encryption such as iMessage for Apple or What’s App for iOs, Android, Blackberry and Windows phone.

*Did you know?

On Apple: blue bubbles = iMessage which is encrypted and secure

                   green bubbles = SMS text which is not secure

I hope that you’ll take this threat to your social media investment seriously and begin to put some, if not all, of these precautions in place.  And if you have any other suggestions as to ways that we can all protect our online selves better, I’d love to hear.

*For further information, check out Chalene Johnson’s podcast series on how she was hacked and what she has learned.  iTunes: Chalene Johnson: Build Your Tribe – episodes from June 9, 12, 15, 17 and 19 of 2015.

 

 

Meerkat and Periscope: A Comparison

Video CD . Conceptual 3d rendered illustration .

Both the Meerkat and Periscope apps are now a few months old (Meerkat was released at the end of February just in time to steal the show at the South by southwest event in Austin, Texas while Periscope was released at the end of March ) and both have been going strong.  Who will win the live-streaming battle for top player remains to be seen though.  There are pros and cons to each app.

Before I launch into a comparison, let’s answer the question What is Live-Streaming?

Live-streaming is simply streaming content live over the internet.  Live-streaming isn’t new but the ability to do it so easily by using one of these two apps is what is new.  There are so many ways that businesses and solo-preneurs can utilize these apps that it almost boggles the mind (more on that later)! Now for the comparison.

Meerkat

Meerkat was the first app to offer live-streaming to Twitter.  In fact, Twitter tried to buy it early on but was unsuccessful.

It has a clean and simple interface with only a few options available. (I’m sure that more will be added as the app develops.) Essentially you can sign in with Twitter and leave your profile alone. Your options are to search for people you’d like to follow or to see the leader board.  You can choose to automatically end a tweet with #meerkat… or not. You cannot also connect to your Facebook page. If you choose to do that, your scheduling and streaming will post to your page.

As with Periscope, your video stream appears on Twitter immediately.  When you watch a live-stream, you are able to comment and see comments from other people. You are also able to retweet. I like the comment thread on Meerkat because it takes up less space than on Periscope so you’ll able to see the presenter easier.  I also like that you can scroll back and see previous comments so you don’t lose track of the conversation.  (You cannot do that on Periscope.) You’ll also see the avatars of folks in the livestream going across the top of the stream. If you click on those thumbnails, you’ll be able to see their Twitter profiles but you can’t follow them from the app.

A great thing about Meerkat is that you have the option to schedule a broadcast in a 24 hour window and to add a featured image. Hashtags and keywords can be included. When a livestream is scheduled, the event will show up in the app feed and a tweet will be sent out. If a person subscribes to an upcoming stream, they will receive a notification from the app when the stream is live.

Another very positive feature is that a call-to-action with a live URL can be added to the end of a livestream.

One of the more negative aspects is that it’s difficult to find folks to follow. They do provide suggestions but if you’re trying to connect with folks that you are already connected to on Twitter, it’s a bit tedious.

Because Meerkat is gamification-based, there is a leaderboard. The way to move up on the leaderboard is to have more people watching, more minutes of streamed video and more comments than the person below you (rumor has it).  This keeps users (broadcasters) engaged and encourages them to broadcast more often. However, that could also be a negative because it takes so much time to get on the leaderboard – folks will run out of valuable things to say and their content might suffer. A positive is that this might also be another way to find people to follow. In fact, this was the method I first used.

A new development is that streamers AND viewers now get points for interactions.

When both apps first launched, there seemed to be some “haters” who loved to invade a livestream and leave negative comments. That seems to have diminished (in fact, I haven’t seen any for quite awhile). There  is the option to report a spammer or to report a livestream itself as inappropriate.

On Meerkat, you can’t watch a finished broadcast but you can save the recording to your phone. If it was your own broadcast, you would then have the ability to edit and use snippets of the stream in another context such as the Instagram 15 second feed.  * Brian Fanzo tells me that if you use the Katch app you can have it automatically recorded. @Katchapp says this: “Record Meerkats with one tweet! The #katch hashtag sends you an automagic YouTube link when the stream ends. (Processing time varies).”

Meerkat Positives

  • Can schedule a live-stream 24 hours ahead and have it “announced”
  • The gamification makes it a bit more interesting and easy to find folks who live-stream often
  • Can place a call-to-action at the end of a live-stream with a URL
  • Possibly a bit easier to use (good for newbie lurkers)
  • Can use the Katch app to auto-record and then be able to save to device

Meerkat Negatives

  • Difficult to connect with your Twitter connections
  • Live-stream is not available to be watched later unless you auto-record it with the Katch app
  • It has no floating hearts (I know, I know; some could care less.)

Periscope

Periscope is owned by Twitter so it has a few more options because of the api.

It is also fairly easy to use both as a viewer and as a broadcaster.

You sign in with your twitter account and your bio is loaded BUT… you can change it. And just this week, Periscope made the links in the bio clickable so be sure to add a link to your bio to where you’d most like your viewers to connect with you more.

You are able to find and follow  your twitter connections more easily but I have to say that in my case, certainly not all of them were within easy reach.  Apparently you can only follow 200 at a time, but every time you log out and log back in, you can follow 200 more. You can browse other viewers watching a stream though and easily add them to your follow list on the app. You can also see THEIR network and follow those folks too.

The thumbnails of the viewers are NOT shown across the top of the livestream as in Meerkat but when they comment, you will see their avatars in a color-shaded square on the left side of the screen. Comments are not pushed to Twitter.

One of the negatives of Periscope is that the comments take up a lot of room and can take away much of the visual. That could be a big detriment to some businesses depending upon what they are presenting. In Periscope, old comments cannot be retrieved which might be problematic for the presenter who is already busy trying to multi-task and not miss any comments.

Of course, one of my favorite parts of Periscope are the floating hearts on the right side of the livestream that signify the viewers giving love to the presenter. Viewers can do that by tapping on their screen and the color of their hearts are the same color as their avatar square. (I have not figured out how to actually select the color I want for my avatar square. If anyone finds a way to do that, let me know! I want pink or turquoise, of course.) One possibly negative side of this is that some broadcasters are begging for hearts (akin to begging for likes and follows_ – don’t do that.

One of the positives about Periscope is that livestreams are available to be seen for 24 hours so if you miss a live session, you have some time to catch it.  AND the livestreams are now available to be watched on the web! So if your phone battery dies (like mine often does), you can still watch on the web.

Another cool feature with Periscope is that you can have private live-streams.  In order to do this, the people that you’d like in your private livestream must follow you. You would then tap on the follower(s) that would want to include. Paid memberships, group chats or client meetings would be ways to  utilize this feature.

Like Meerkat, Periscope  has a reporting feature for those livestreams that are inappropriate.  You can also limit the ability to comment on your livestream to only those who follow you on Twitter.

Unlike Meerkat, you cannot pre-schedule a livestream (I bet that changes soon), nor can you leave a call-to-action at the end of your livestream (I bet that will change too but the ability to have a clickable link in your bio is good in the meantime.)

Periscope DOES provide post-stream statistics for the broadcasters though.

Wrap-Up

Periscope Positives:

  • Can find Twitter connections easily
  • Can have private broadcasts
  • Videos can be watched for 24 hours after live-stream finishes
  • Videos can be watched on the web
  • Links in Bios are clickable
  • Has post-stream statistics

Periscope Negatives

  • Does not allow scheduling
  • Does not allow a call-to-action at the end
  • Comments distract from the presenter

 

Why consider using Meerkat or Periscope?

You can easily connect with your audience in real-time!

We’ll discuss ways to utilize each of these apps in the second article of the series.

Have you tried either app? What are your thoughts?  Have I missed anything?

What The Professional Photographer Needs to Know About Social Media

Professional female photographer holding a camera and smiling

 

 

In the not-too-distant past, photographers were able to rely on their photography to speak for them in order to create their success and although there was competition, it was not as fierce as it is now. Due in large part to the ability to enter the marketplace with less expense, the availability of high-functioning digital options, more simplified editing software, and the ease of establishing a website, the competition is huge. Becoming a published and successful photographer in the modern age no longer requires just the ability to take amazing shots. It also requires that you be able to market yourself in the right ways to develop contacts that will pass your name along to companies and clients in need of your expertise.

A recent article in the “Notes From a Rep’s Journal” blog by Heather Elder mentions that in 2015, photographers who participate in their own marketing will be the ones who are the most successful.

“Photographers that are committed to their marketing plans, engage in their own networking, have a strong voice on social media, utilize blogs and other websites to promote themselves and are engaged in the estimating process fully are the ones who are the busiest.” ~Heather Elder, photographer rep

Accomplishing this marketing is best done by utilizing all the tools that available.  There are portfolio reviews to attend, e-mail promotions, snail-mail promotions, interviews, website updates, blogs, and networking events to attend. One of our photographers shared that she learned to play golf in order to network . Another states that he pays monthly in order to remain on the first page of Google.

Social media is another marketing option and in this article, we are going to concentrate on its benefits to the professional photographer.

Why Are Social Platforms Excellent for Freelance Photographers?

Basically, social networking is successful because of two things: people’s desire to connect and their desire to be entertained.  Social media allows people to connect with one another, and to share what has entertained them (in the case of their children and pets, perhaps too often, but I digress)

People also are visual. They love images. This makes social networks ideal for sharing your work and building your reputation as a quality photographer.

Before I lose you, let’s address the elephant in the room:  yes, there is a possibility that your images may be lifted. Even when protections are put into place, that possibility exists. There are ways to obtain images from websites even when the right-click is disabled and there are ways to remove watermarks.  But because of the competition, it’s a chance that needs to be taken.  Don’t be careless but don’t be so protective of your work that you cut off your nose to spite your face.  Watermark your images. Most social networks have mechanisms in place that will allow you to report theft. This will result in the offending person’s images being removed in most cases.

You can publish your photos on social networks and quickly develop a following that allows you to prove to potential clients that their target demographic enjoys your work. You may even be able to find a way to become featured on one of the larger community “hubs” that republish awe-inspiring photographs with the proper attribution.

It’s also not just about your work, it’s about you. In 2015, it’s less about the photography than about the photographer. Social media allows you to showcase your personality, your vision, and your talents, as well as your work.

The Social Networks You Should Use as a Freelance Photographer

The best approach to take when establishing your presence on social networks is to take a broad one. You want your name on as many of the social networks that you can handle, as this will allow you to best grow a more generalized audience for your work.  It’s best to try to acquire a standard name across all the social networks so that friends from one platform will recognize you on another.  If you feel that participating on all social networks is just too much, at least try to claim your name and fill out your profiles completely. You never know who will be looking at your work.

“I look at a lot of work online. I have about a thousand bookmarks that I try to randomly browse through when things are quiet at work. I like to keep up with what some of my favorite photographers are shooting, but by choosing bookmarks at random I tend to rediscover people whose work I admire but for whatever reason have not stayed top of mind. It’s good to refresh my mental list of who is working on what out there; there are so many people making great work and I want to work with them all!” ~Genevieve Dellinger, Art Producer at 72 & Sunny

If you find that one or two networks produce better results, then you should focus on driving interaction with the followers you have on those networks without forgetting about the other ones. One of the keys is interaction. Showcase your work but do engage in conversation, as well. Below is a brief list of the social networks you might choose to use as a photographer.

1. Google+

When Google+ first entered the scene, it was one of the most popular social networks among photographers and artists. They said that there images looked better on Google+ (Facebook and Twitter’s images were much smaller at the time) and the gallery was an excellent feature for photographers, as well.

Google+ circles are great for dealing with the “noise” and the communities offer a lot of opportunity for sharing with similar interests.  Hangouts are being used to network with other photographers or clients, to talk about gear to give tips, provide portfolio reviews and community photo critiques and even more.

And remember, Google+ is owned by Google. It is good for  search engine results.

2. Facebook

Facebook has a substantially larger active user base than Google+. This, coupled with the fact that it’s commonly integrated on other websites gives it an incredible amount of promise for photographers.

To utilize the site itself, you need only to create an account and to begin publishing your photographs. You can make your own business page, but this is only an optimal strategy if you plan to promote your own photographs alongside the work of others. As long as you don’t do too much promotion, you are probably fine with just a personal page.  Remember that a personal page must be your first and last name. It may NOT be the name of your company or even Jane Smith Photographer.

One reason to consider a business page on Facebook is the ability to advertise using Facebook ads. Facebook has become a pay-to-play platform which may sound like a negative, but in reality, it’s not. Facebook advertising allows you to post less content and reach a much more specific group of people.  And if you are growing an e-mail list (something you should consider doing), Facebook advertising has proven to be excellent.

One negative about Facebook is that 90% of users who “like” a page, never return to that page. This is another reason that Facebook ads have become necessary.

One positive is that Facebook is THE largest social platform and because your friends and family are probably already on it, you can take advantage of the 6 degrees of separation in order to make connections. Who better than friends and family to recommend you to their friends and family?

3. Twitter

Twitter is the platform that gives you 140 characters or less to publish your message. It is a phenomenal tool to connect with individuals and companies around the world. But it is a very fast-moving platform and as such you must regularly publish your messages because they disappear quickly.

Twitter users frown on too much promotion so it’s best to use the 80/20 rule: 80 sharing and 20% promotion.  Sharing your images is welcomed though and you are able to post up to 4 images at a time. You also have to option to tag your photos.

Twitter #hashtags allows for easy search results. For instance, type #photographer in the search box and you’ll be led to photographers who use Twitter or tweets with the hashtag #photographer in them.

Will you find many clients on Twitter? Probably not, but you will be able to connect with influential photographers to aspire to, companies who might utilize your photography, industry leaders in your area and because Twitter is usually the first to break news, a possible photo opportunity.

  1. Flickr

    Flickr is an interest network which means that its goal is pretty much just to share images. There’s not much interaction there. On Flickr, you are able to license images for reuse or print sales or you can choose not to allow that option.

    Flickr has come under fire lately when Yahoo! (its owner) started selling canvas images of its photos. They changed that policy but the negative feelings have lingered.

5.. Pinterest

Pinterest is unique from the other social networks listed here due to the fact that it focuses entirely on pinning and repinning images. Images are pinned from websites and placed onto virtual bulletin boards. Boards can be organized into categories of the user’s choice so for instance, images could be grouped into themes such as nature, street scenes, animals, marsala (Pantone’s color of the year), etc.

If you have a website where you share your photographs, sell your photographs or write blog posts, Pinterest might be a great platform to consider.  Images pinned from your website would link back to it and possibly bring visitors back to explore more of your offerings. One of the great things about Pinterest is that because of the “repining factor” the life of a pin is much longer than a tweet or a Facebook post.  A pinned item could be repined even a year after the original pin.

It’s also a great platform if you are a wedding, portrait or events photographer and is excellent for finding some inspiration.

5. Instagram

Instagram is a fun and easy way to share your images. You’ll find many photographers on Instagram and they seem eager to share each other’s work (with credit), so you have a good chance of growing a nice following. Plus Instagram is a great way to share photos of your life, your travels and your personality. Remember in 2015, it’s more about the photographer than they photography.

Instagram will also share easily to Facebook, Tumblr, Flickr and Twitter (although the size will be distorted in Twitter). Instagram cannot share to Google+.

This platform makes use of #hashtags and is the only platform where it’s acceptable to use large amounts of hashtags in a post. Check out the hashtags that other photographers are using.

It is a mobile only app though so in order to share images from your standard camera, you’ll need to upload them to Dropbox or another Cloud storage system and grab them on your mobile device. Another work-around for that (if you don’t have a cloud storage system) is to email them to yourself and then save the image to your mobile device.

The Do Apps: Recipes To Save Time and Increase Productivity on Social Media

Colored pencil drawing of the words simplify your day 

I love IFTTT (If This, Then That) and use its recipes frequently as a way to fit some short-cuts into my social media tasks.  Because I recently changed my Instagram password, I found the need to visit the site and reconnect Instagram to one of my recipes.  When I arrived on the site, I noticed the 3 new Do buttons.  I had heard of them before, but I didn’t know they were affiliated with IFTTT,

IFTTT is a service that specializes in creating innovative solutions that it calls Recipes. These are apps that allow people to simplify many everyday tasks. IFTTT has recently introduced three new, related apps, called the Dos. These apps provide users with many potential uses or recipes that can make life easier, especially for social media related tasks. The following is a summary of how these apps work and what kind of Recipes you can create to become more productive and efficient.

Do Button

As the name suggests, the Do Button works as a button you can use in many different ways. While people are accustomed to using lots of button to operate devices and get things done, having a button on your phone or other device can make things much simpler. The Do Button allows you to create up to three recipes at a time but you can make changes to your Recipes whenever you want. The following are some possible recipes that can be created with Do Button.

  • Track your time and location on Google Drive spreadsheets – this one is my favorite because I work with several different clients during the course of a day and I need to keep track of where my hours and minutes are spent.
  • Set your thermostat in your home or office to the ideal temperature – no need to leave the home office in order to reset the thermostat, just hit the Do Button.
  • Send a quick message to someone to set or cancel an appointment.
  • Share your location or status with someone via Twitter.
  • Manage any internet-connected device in your home or office.
  • Turn lights on or off  – this requires special hardware, a Philips “HUE” light bulb, but would be great for turning the porch lights on when you arrive home in the dark if the switch is on the inside of the house.

Do Camera

Do Camera is an app that makes it possible to customize your camera and integrate it with many popular platforms and services. If you like to share your photos on many platforms at once, this app will make it faster. You can use Do Camera for fun or to make it easier to conduct business related to image sharing. Since social media today revolves a great deal around images, Do Camera can be a very useful app to make photo sharing easier. The following are just a few of the possible Recipes that can be created using Do Note.

  • Share documents or receipts on Evernote.
  • Send photos to friends, co-workers or team members via Gmail.
  • Post photos to the specific Facebook album of your choice.
  • Share images on WordPress, Tumblr, Twitter and more.
  • Post notes to Slack.
  • Email yourself a photo – super great when using an app to create a graphic for social media when you’d like it off your phone or tablet.

Do Note

Do Note is a notepad app that lets you create a customized notepad that can be integrated with a large number of widely used channels. This is another app that makes communicated via social media very efficient. Do Note is an app that lets you get more out of any notes that you jot down, letting you share them widely with just a click. The following are some possible Recipes that you can create with Do Note.

  • Post messages quickly to Twitter, Facebook, Yammer, Todoist and many others places.
  • Create a list of prospects or leads for your business.
  • Post to a chat room.
  • Share tasks with team members.
  • Quickly create events in Google calendar – simply write (or speak into the microphone) something like “lunch with Susie on Friday at 2 pm” and it will automatically be added to your calendar.

The three Dos are simple yet powerful apps that have a wide variety of uses. They can be particularly useful for small businesses and solo entrepreneurs who need to communicate over a wide variety of channels and platforms. With Do Button, Do Camera and Do Note, you can make sharing information on social media faster and simpler, which enhances your productivity.

Let me know if you try any of the Do Button recipes or if you discover some great ones that I missed.

Image credit: DepositPhotos.com/karelnoppe

Social Media Time Management: Getting it All Done

image of a clean desk with the hands of a young woman on the keyboardIn July of the past year, my 90 year old mom came to live with me. She doesn’t require much hands-on caregiving, but her being here has changed the way I manage my schedule. No more 8 o’clock dinners or putting in 12 hour days.  I need to provide a proper dinner, spend a bit of time with her in the morning and ideally schedule at least one day per week for outings.

Because of this, I’ve needed to become very intentional about the way I manage social media – both for myself and for my clients.

Putting some systems in place was paramount. One thing that has helped was finding a very simple, but effective To-Do list that could be used both on my desktop and my mobile devices.  I found the solution in Teux Deux. It’s not overly complicated, sync’s between devices and allows adding daily, weekly, monthly or even yearly tasks just by typing “every day” or “every month” when adding an item to my list.

By looking carefully at what was on my daily or weekly lists, I learned to easily batch items together.  For instance, I create all posts that can be scheduled (using Rignite.com) on Tuesdays.  This way, if I get busy on other days, I know that I have something going out on all platforms.

Content creation is now scheduled between certain hours of certain days. Even if I DON’T feel like writing, I set a timer and write for that specific amount of time.  Social sites and e-mail is shut off during that time. Research is scheduled for different hours.  Client calls are also now scheduled on a certain day, as much as possible.

Batching your own social media and content creation times will help you to get it all done in less time.  

The infographic below (courtesy of Rignite) does a great job in demonstrating what can be done with 30 minute to 60 minute time slots.  The only comment that I would make is that your content (blog piece) can be created and scheduled to be published at a later date by using the schedule publication feature in the upper right hand corner of your WordPress site. This deletes one step in the process.

 

Manage Social Media More Efficiently With RigniteCompliments of: Rignite Inc.

 What are your biggest challenges when managing your own social media?  Do you have any tips that you could offer?  I’d love to know. 

Image Credit: Deposit Photos

 

 

 

 

 

Which Social Media Platform is Best for Direct Marketers?

two smiling women, one  applying make up to the other at homeThis article originally appeared on SheOwnsIt.com.

Many direct sales marketers are successfully using social media to help market their businesses.  But just like in any other business, choosing the best social media platform for your particular brand is very important.  In order to choose, it’s imperative to define your ideal client and determine where they might be hanging out. We already know that physical products that are sold using the direct marketing system are popular among Facebook users.  And Facebook is the largest social media platform and the second most visited site after Google.

But Facebook may not be your best choice.  Here’s why:

Facebook’s recent algorithm changes have caused a significant decrease in the amount of content that is seen by those who like your page.  Experts are suggesting that only 1 of every 6 posts is seen by any one person.  So theoretically,  if you want even one post to be seen, you need to post something on your business page at least 6 times per day.  Facebook is putting more emphasis on images and images with links to relevant information.  Fortunately, many direct marketer’s products are very visual businesses.

We have known for awhile that Facebook has become a “Pay to Play” market for businesses and now marketers are being given tools to evaluate their campaigns further emphasizing that they are serious about advertising dollars.  This is not good news for those working in a direct sales market that does not allow advertising.

This is not to say that you should dump your Facebook business page. If you have a loyal following and can provide relevant and engaging content, you might still do well.  Some ideas for content might be motivational quotes, personal notes, humor, links to your other social media presences, company news, promotions (limited but not absent), questions and links to your blog or newsletter, if you have one.

Be sure that you fill out your “about” section completely so folks can get an instant idea of what you and your business is about.

There are 2 other social media platforms to consider using.  Pinterest is one of them.

Pinterest is an excellent site for direct sales marketers for several reasons.

  • There are 70 million Pinterest accounts of which 80% are owned by women.
  • There are 2.5 billion monthly Pinterest page views.
  • 80% of total Pinterest pins are repins, which means that your original pin has a longer staying power than a post on Facebook or Instagram.
  • The percentage of total social referrals to commerce sites (your O2 website, for instance) is 20% and people who have seen an item on social media are 40% more likely to purchase it.
  • The average amount per order that Pinterest shoppers spend is $140.00 – $180.00 and 60% of Pinterest users live in the United States.
  • *(Stats are from Expanded Ramblings.com)

On Pinterest you’re able to repin images from other direct marketer’s boards onto your own boards which allows you to show different ways to use your product.  Etiquette states that you may change the caption of the pin but you should never, never change the website redirect address.

This brings up the number one mistake that I’ve noticed that direct marketers make on Pinterest.  They add their website to the caption of the pin but don’t add their website as their image source. If you are pinning from your own photos, this is a must because otherwise the image is not clickable.  To add your website address, click on the image, click on the pencil (edit), place your website address to the box that says “source” and click on “save changes”.  But remember, if there is another person’s website address listed in the source box, do not change it. This is for images that you add from your own files.

Hint: if you have a website and apply for Pinterest’s “Rich Pins”, (and are approved) you can add a price to the description of your item and it will then be featured in the “Gifts” category (thus giving more attention to your Pin). Just how Pinterest chooses to display pins in this category is still a bit of a mystery but it’s worth a try.  Be sure to check your company’s terms of service  to that posting prices on Pinterest is allowed.
Instagram is another social media platform that is being used by many direct marketers.  It is a highly visual platform and allows for images or videos to be uploaded directly from your smartphone. Using Instagram, you could not only show images of your products but ways that they can be utilized.

The great thing about Instagram is that is utilizes hashtags in a big way. Unlike Twitter and Facebook where using more than 2 hashtags in a post is frowned upon, Instagrammers use many of them.  So for instance, you could use many of your keywords as tags and even add your home town as a tag with each image you post.

Like all social media sites, Instagram is not just about selling; it’s about connecting, offering value and getting to know your connections. So do post other images on your Instagram account that show off all sides of your personality.

You are also able to repost an image that you find on Instagram by using the Repost app (iPhone) or PhotoRepost app (Android).  The app will give credit to the original poster.

Because Instagram accepts 15 second videos, it’s also a great way to provide tips for your potential customers or for your team members.

So there you have it.  Which platform do you think is the best for your particular brand? Can you think of other ways to use these platforms?

Photo Credit: Deposit Photos/Syda_Productions

What on Earth Does Earth Day Have To Do With Social Media?

a pair of Eastern Bluebirds on a log.
(updated April 2015)

Today we celebrate Earth Day, the anniversary of what many people consider to be the beginning of environmental awareness.  The first Earth day took place on April 22nd, 1970.  I remember it well because we walked to school in order not to use the gas from Mom’s car.  We also had the opportunity to buy recycled GREEN paper notebooks.

In a day when students and “hippies” participated in massive anti-war protests, earth day was seen as a day when people from all walks of life could come together to support a cause which was for the benefit of all.

I’m pretty environmentally conscious but like most, am a work-in-progress. I have cut down on purchasing “things” and try not to purchase items with non-recyclable packaging (refuse); I buy earth-friendly products;  use all fruit, grain and vegetable scraps to either feed our chickens or to add to the compost bin. White paper towels, waxed paper and napkins (white) go in the compost bin, as well. We recycle anything that we can. We have been able to cut our trash can usage to 1 can full every 3 weeks.  I still have a long way to go though.

Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. (We have now added Refuse and Rot [compost] )

Now this is where social media comes in.

1.  Reduce the amount of time you spend on social media. 

Maximize your social media time by focusing on what’s important.  Try not to get involved in reading every post and following every link.  If there’s an article mentioned that you find interesting, save it to Evernote , Feedly or KiFi (whichever you have set up)and read it later.  Using a timer can help.

Reducing your exposure to the computer can decrease the amount of eye strain you suffer, can help keep you more active by not keeping your bum attached to the chair all day and can help to keep your mind uncluttered.

2.  Reuse your content.

On Twitter, retweet other people’s content in order to encourage them to retweet yours.  Join a Tweet Ring or Join Social Media Buzz Club where you can submit your content and members of your group will share it.  (You will share theirs too.)

Link your social media platforms together when appropriate.   All social channels are different but some items can be shared at the same time.  When pinning something on a Pinterest board, it can be immediately shared in a post to Twitter, as well.  Photos placed on Instagram can be shared to Facebook, Twitter, Posterous, Flickr, Tumblr and Foursquare simultaneously.  By using a recipe from IFTTT, you are able to perform some other work-arounds, as well.
*Don’t share your tweets to your Facebook profile or pages and don’t share your FB posts to Twitter as they won’t make sense because of the way the are written.

3. Recycle your content.

Submit your content to article directories.  Change about 30% of your article and use it as a guest blog on other sites pertaining to your area of interest.  Consider posting the article on Medium with a CTA that draws folks to your website.  Add MORE content to your article and create an info product to sell on your web site or to use as an outline and host a teleseminar.  Make a slideshare.  Create mini-podcasts.

4. Refuse

Refuse to waste time on social channels where your potential clients do not dwell.  If you use platforms such as Pinterest or Instagram for your own personal joy, then schedule personal time for those platforms, rather than using business time.

Refuse to engage with negative Nellies on social media.  If there is a productive way to interact with them or solve an issue for them, then by all means do it as quickly and kindly as possible, but don’t become engaged in a battle. 

5. Rot

Periodically, go through your website and get rid of items that are no longer relevant.  What worked previously, may not be working anymore.  Check to see that the links in your articles are still working as some may lead to items that are no longer available. (Keeping your content fresh will also help with your Google rankings.)

Social media and Earth Day use the same principles, just in different ways.

Happy Earth Day everyone.  Go out there and get some fresh air! If you have any other ideas how these 5 Earth Day principles can be used in social media, I’d love to hear!