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Bob Ross knows exactly which brush makes his trees the happiest. Emily Post would never dream of using the outside fork on her cornish hen. And Bob Vila knows when to turn on the hammer option of his industrialstrength drill. At Argyle Social, we are not particularly good painters, socialites or carpenters. We do, however, know a lot about social media tools. And social media tools, like hammers and screwdrivers, are built for particular jobs. However, unlike hammers and screwdrivers, it’s not always obvious which tools excel at which jobs. In each section below, we’re going to introduce you to another tool in your social media toolbelt. We’ll explain what that tool does, what it’s particularly good at, what it isn’t good at, and what features should come standard.
Less useful for: If you like to publish a steady stream of content throughout the day, this isn’t the tool. This tool is good at coordinating complex marketing campaigns, but not good at high-volume, consistent sharing. Under the hood: Make sure that your Advanced Posting tool has: • Real-time posting and scheduled posting options • Integrated URL shortening • Support for all of the social networks you care about • Integrated campaign tracking • Web analytics customization options • Post approval work ow • The ability to tailor content for diﬀerent social properties and social networks
This is the Swiss Army Knife of social media tools. It allows you to take a complex, integrated marketing message and post it to a large number of social properties on multiple diﬀerent social channels. It allows you to control every possible aspect of your post: scheduling, campaigns, even setting custom web analytics parameters for your short links. But it’s not the fastest or easiest to make a simple, short post. Really useful for: If you have multi-part, multi-channel social marketing message you want to send to Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, and G+, this tool is for you. It excels at specifying every detail of your posts, from custom analytics parameters, to campaign tagging, to dates, times, and authors.
Less useful for: Advanced customization and settings. Do you want to tweak your analytics parameters? Create ve diﬀerent versions of a post for diﬀerent times and accounts? If so, Quick Post isn’t the right tool. Under the hood: Make sure that your Quick Post tool has: • A simple interface that makes posting quick and easy • Integration with your engagement console of choice • Real-time posting and scheduled posting options • Integrated URL shortening • Support for all of the social networks you care about
If the Advanced Post tool was a Swiss Army Knife, then Quick Post is a pen knife: simple, eﬀective, and doesn’t take up too much space in your pocket. It provides a dead-simple interface for quickly publishing content to your social properties. Really useful for: Quick and dirty posting to your social properties. Think of the Quick Post as the content bar at the top of Twitter.com or the widget embedded in your Argyle Social Waterfall--it is tightly integrated into your engagement console and built for rapid response. No uﬀ, all substance.
Spotlight on Permissions, Work ow, and Noti cations
Permissions, work ow, and noti cations are three of the most important features in any social media tool. They’re deeply un-sexy and don’t generate a lot of buzz, but if you’re a business and use social media for marketing, you should consider these must-haves. So what are they? User Permissions What if your business has two brands, each with a dedicated community manager? Should Community Manager A be able to post on behalf of Brand B? Probably not. It’s important that your social tools recognize that every user is diﬀerent, and control access to who should see what accordingly. This is one of the best ways for your business to prevent a “gettngslizzerd” moment. Work ow Community management teams no longer consist of a single college intern. They have more staﬀ members, more touch points with the rest of the organization, and they eld a larger volume of inquiries than ever before. You don’t just need social media tools, you need collaboration tools. Work ow lets you assign incoming requests to team members, allow editors to review drafts, and route social content to the appropriate people inside of your organization. Noti cations You can’t always be in front of your computer. And honestly, your friend is tired of glaring at you every time you pick up your smartphone at dinner to say “Thanks for the RT!” Your social tools need to help you to take a step back by sending you noti cations while you’re away and allowing you to act on them when you get back.
This tool is the very newest tool in the community manager’s toolbelt. It allows you to queue up large volumes of content and then automatically posts that content on a schedule designed to maximize engagement Less useful for: The Smart Scheduler is a very speci c tool. It’s built for content curation, posted in a consistent stream throughout the day. If you want more control over a post, use a diﬀerent tool. Under the hood: Make sure that your Smart Scheduler has: • A bookmarklet, allowing you to post directly from pages around the internet • Highly customizable scheduling options, allowing you to tailor your post timing to your audience • An ultra-simple posting interface, allowing you to queue content quickly • Email noti cations when your queue has run dry
Really useful for: Posting a regular stream of content on your social properties takes a lot of time and energy. The smart scheduler makes the process much simpler by letting you set a schedule and queue up a pile of relevant content all at once that drips out over time. You can focus your time on customer engagement and strategic thinking while the Smart Scheduler does the work.
The RSS Automator is one of the most underused tools in the community manager’s toolbelt. It’s excellent at its job: taking content from your blog and sharing it to your social pro les automatically. Just don’t ask it to do Under the hood: Make sure that your RSS Automator has: • The ability to read all common feed formats: RSS 1, RSS 2, Atom, etc. • Integration with your Smart Scheduler. You should be able to assign all new posts to your queue. • Advanced scheduling options. Posts should be able to go out immediately, or re-posted days or weeks in the future. Sidenote: are you worried that content automation isn’t a good idea? Fear not. It turns out that RSS content actually performs every bit as well as content posted by hand.
Really useful for: Taking a content feed and auto-sharing to your social properties. Less useful for: Doing just about anything else.
Spotlight on Smart Scheduling
Smart Scheduling, the very newest tool in the community manager’s toolbelt, is purpose-built to help community managers eﬃciently curate content. Content curation -- linking to content produced by others -- is highly eﬀective at generating interest and engagement from your social audience. In fact, accounts that curate at least half of their content get 180% more engagement than accounts that link to their own content most of the time. Curation is a great way to build the early part of the sales funnel. But, as community managers know, it’s also a lot of work. Finding content that will resonate with your audience, shortening the URL, creating the post in your social media management system, setting the date and time for posting... And then do that 10-50 times per day. This is a classic situation of needing a better tool for the job, and that’s exactly what Smart Scheduling tools give you. With a Smart Scheduler, your work ow gets much more eﬃcient. Start by setting up your schedule. What days of the week and times of the day is your audience most engaged? How many times do you want to post during those windows? (Hint: Don’t forget about weekends! ) After you set up your schedule, simply add content to your posting queue. Find content you like, click “add to queue”, and the Smart Scheduling tool will publish the post at an appropriate time based on your scheduling settings. “But won’t this delay my content?” Many community managers assume that there is a half-life on everything they post, and therefore want to post everything as quickly as they can. It turns out, that’s just not the case. It turns out that scheduling posts for later generates just as many clicks as posting that same content immediately.⁴ If you stop and think about it, this makes sense. Does that top ten list you just shared need to go out immediately, or would it be just as good in 12 hours? Probably the latter. Most content is not breaking news, so don’t feel the need to shove it out the door as soon as possible. With a Smart Scheduler, your time-consuming, erratic posting will transform into an easy, predictable schedule of quality content and a consistent source of fan growth and clicks.
When to use a Smart Scheduler • Most content you share every day--blog posts, howto guides, industry news, etc. When NOT to use a Smart Scheduler • Special limited time oﬀers
• • • • • •
Product marketing tied to a product release Tightly integrated multi-channel campaigns Event promotion Customer service inquiry Breaking news Service announcement
Less useful for: This tool is tailored for interactions, not broadcasting. If your goal is to construct marketing messages and organize campaigns, this tool isn’t the right tool. Under the hood: Make sure your multi-column engagement tool has: • Support for all social channels important to you • Support for all the major social interaction types (retweet, reply, favorite, comment, like, share, follow, unfollow, +1, etc.) • Conversational context (user information, conversation history, Klout score and topics, etc.) • A searchable archive of conversations
All of the tools to this point have been purely outbound: they help you broadcast something to your audience. The Multi-Column Engagement tool is diﬀerent--it’s the tool you use to participate in social conversations. This is also probably the most widely popular of all of the social media tools on the market. Really useful for: This tool is really good at helping you interact with your audience, and the social universe at large. Good ones provide context to every conversation, helping you interact in a meaningful way.
Spotlight on the Multi-Column Engagement Tool
Everyone’s familiar with the multi-column engagement tool. TweetDeck has been a fan favorite since 2007, and users have come to expect this type of interface in whatever platform they’re working with. Almost every major social media tool incorporates cascading columns of posts somewhere. But they’re not all the same. Consumers can get away with using TweetDeck, but community managers need more. Your multi-column engagement tool needs to deliver two things that TweetDeck doesn’t: context and history. Context If you’re the community manager for Geico, it’s simply impossible to know every customer personally. It’s even more impossible to know that Jim totaled his car last week when you eld his complaint about the responsiveness of your claims division. Since you can’t be expected to know this information oﬀ the top of your head, it’s the job of your social media tools to provide it for you. CRM integration is key to providing this context. If your entire customer database lives in Salesforce.com, you should probably have access to that data when you’re elding inquiries. History Customers will probably remember the conversations they have with you. But you, as a community manager, talk to so many customers and prospects every day that you can’t possibly remember each distinct conversation. Make sure that your multi-column engagement tool stores lifetime conversation history so that you don’t start from scratch with every interaction.
You now know your ve core tools to post social content. Let’s take a look at some of the things that you do every day and see how they map to your choice of tools.
Responding to customer service inquiries
Tool #5: Multi-Column Engagement
Keep in mind...
Make sure you have noti cations in place so that you see important inquiries when you’re away from your desk. And make sure you have work ow tools so that messages can be routed to the person with the answer. Your smart scheduler most likely has a “bookmarklet” feature--a link that you can drag to your browser’s favorites bar. Use this. It will change your life. Not everyone will see any given post. If you really want your audience to learn about a new product you’re launching, post about it multiple times and at diﬀerent times of day. Change the messaging each time to keep things fresh. Schedule multiple posts at very speci c times. 1-2 posts before the deal begins, and then posts throughout the deal duration alerting your audience that the deal is coming to a close.
Curating content around the web to drive engagement
Tool #3: Smart Scheduler
Product marketing for the new product launch
Tool #1: Advanced Post
Limited time discounts on particular products
Tool #1: Advanced Post
Service interruption notice
Tool #2: Quick Post
Keep in mind...
Get the word out as quickly as you can. Don’t get bogged down in minutia; just let your customers know the what’s wrong and what you’re doing about it. Follow up with status updates frequently. Don’t over-think it. Timeliness is more important than clever messaging when news breaks in your industry. Get something out to your audience ASAP. If your organization has an active blogging presence, just spend some time setting up your RSS Automator. Stop elding requests from your bloggers to share their content. If it’s really timely, go ahead and push that retweet button immediately. But, consider: retweeting is one of the main sources of content curation. You should probably add this to your Smart Scheduler’s queue so that it can be posted along with the rest of your amazing content.
Breaking industry news
Tool #2: Quick Post
Sharing your blog posts
Tool #4: RSS Automator
Retweeting interesting stuﬀ your followers say
Tool #5: Multi-Column Engagement Tool #3: Smart Scheduler
Every community manager and every brand has a diﬀerent set of needs. Consider building this table for yourself. What do you spend most of your day doing? What tools are best suited to accomplish those tasks more eﬃciently and more eﬀectively? Choosing the right tool for the job can not only make your life easier. It can dramatically improve your social media marketing performance.
Sources: 1. Is Post Automation Eﬀective? http://argylesocial.com/blog/2011/07/05/is-post-automation-eﬀective.html 2. New Research Finds the Curation vs Creation Sweet Spot http://argylesocial.com/blog/2011/09/07/new-research- nds-the-curation-vs-creationsweet-spot.html 3. Social Timing Insights Infographic http://argylesocial.com/infographics/social-timing-insights-infographic 4. Is Post Automation Eﬀective? http://argylesocial.com/blog/2011/07/05/is-post-automation-eﬀective.html
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