August 14, 2014

Choosing the right social media management system

Target audience: Marketing professionals, PR pros, brand managers, businesses, nonprofits, educators, Web publishers, journalists.

Post by Andrew Lisa

Andrew-LisaI‘ve talked with people who are juggling as many as 25 business profiles for Twitter alone — and these are legitimate accounts. If the nature of their business demands that they’re also wrapped up in multiple profiles on other social media sites like Facebook and LinkedIn, there are simply not enough hours in the day to keep up.

Here are the five social media management tools that I hear positive reviews about most frequently (and isn’t word of mouth the best barometer?):

 

sproutsocial-logo

SproutSocial: Collaboration & keyboard monitoring

1SproutSocial has a clean, sleek interface and powerful features that come standard with every plan. It has an easy, single-stream inbox feed and tasking tools that make it nearly impossible to miss a customer’s question or comment. You can also post – and schedule postings – for Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn simultaneously. Keyword monitoring lets you keep tabs on what people are saying about you and its collaboration feature allows you to split up tasks between team members.

postling

Postling: Manage multiple accounts — and your blog

2With one single inbox at Postling, you can manage not just Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, but also YouTube and even your blog. Even more, Postling lets you monitor reviews on sites like Yelp, CitySearch and TripAdvisor. Publish everything in one place and choose to respond either from your social media account or via email. Postling also has one of the best mobile apps in the industry.

spredfast-spark

Spredfast: Famed for its analytics program

3Spredfast is big-time social marketing for big-time operations. Its renowned analytics program is provided in readable graphs and charts, perfect for presenting to clients or customers regarding their own outreach programs. It’s not for the little guys, however – fees range from $12,000 to $1 million a year, on top of whatever you pay for high-speed business Internet.

expion

Expion: Analytics + content marketing

4Expion steps it up by providing not just social marketing, but analytics and content marketing as well. It has a customizable interface that allow users to manage and govern personalized accounts. There is a whole world of social media management tools, and it can be big and confusing. The proliferation of social media, of course, resulted in the parallel rise of countless supporting applications. The first thing you should do is narrow down potential sites by clearly identifying clearly what size business each site is geared toward. From there, you can get into price and functionality.

socialEngage

Social Engage: Buff up your online profile

5Aimed at small businesses, Social Engage (formerly CoTweet) does everything you’d expect from a social marketing app, but it has a feature that makes it unique. Its +Engage feature frequently changes the design of your profile to follow the latest Internet trends.

Andrew Lisa is a freelance media writer. Follow him on Twitter.
August 11, 2014

Top takeaways from a growth hacking conference

Rand-Fishkin
Rand Fishkin, founder of Moz, speaking at the Weapons of Mass Distribution conference in San Francisco on Thursday.

Make sure your content is unique, relevant and looks great

Target audience: Marketing professionals, SEO specialists, entrepreneurs, PR pros, brand managers, businesses, nonprofits, educators, Web publishers, journalists.

JD LasicaToday, it seems, just about all startups — and even more mature companies — want to wield the growth hacking buzzsaw. Growth hacking was the theme that drew several hundred marketers, entrepreneurs and business strategists to the Hotel Kabuki in San Francisco on Thursday for the fancifully named Weapons of Mass Distribution conference put on by 500 Startups.

And while growth hacking may be hot hot hot right now — even marketing consultant Sean Ellis, who coined the term, was on hand — the impressive lineup of speakers made it clear that to succeed, a new enterprise can’t spin flax into gold. You’ve got to have some kick-ass idea to begin with, and you have to have a product team that knows how to execute. And then, yes, by all means, call in the growth hackers and marketers to run the numbers, size up your analytics, get feedback from customers, and create a virtuous product development loop that fast-tracks your company on to its inevitable trajectory of fame, riches and a guest spot on Jason Calacanis’s “This Week in Startups” podcast.

I captured some of the magic on stage and in the room in this Flickr photo set. (Ah, Flickr, you were on that fast track once!) Continue reading

August 7, 2014

Does your online business community need a moderator or manager?


A manager does a lot more than just moderate online discussions.

Target audience: Business executives, brand managers, marketing professionals, community managers, entrepreneurs, nonprofits, educators, Web publishers.

Post by Andrew Lisa

Andrew-LisaIf part of your social marketing plan is the establishment of an online business community, you may be wondering if you need the help of a moderator or manager. It’s important to understand the difference between the two, what they do and how they can help you.

I’ve been a part of forums both with and without a manager, and there are benefits and drawbacks to both approaches. Continue reading

August 4, 2014

What makes an online community work

Amy Jo Kim

Amy Jo Kim

Why the best social networks must grow organically

Target audience: Community manager, marketing professionals, PR pros, brand managers, entrepreneurs, businesses, nonprofits, educators, Web publishers, journalists.

Chris AbrahamWay back in 2000, Amy Jo Kim wrote the book on best practices and strategies on how to start, build, grow, and maintain online communities in Community Building on the Web : Secret Strategies for Successful Online Communities.

If you can find a copy, buy one. Everything Amy Jo Kim recommends can be mapped perfectly to Web 2.0 and social network services — namely, her belief that communities need to grow organically and not be rigid, planned, communities. That is, more like London than Paris. Continue reading

August 1, 2014

Choose the right monetization model for your blog

choosing
Photo by Julia Manzerova on Flickr (CC BY)

Target audience: Bloggers, small businesses, self-publishers, nonprofits, educators, Web publishers, journalists.

Ayelet NoffEveryone has different reasons why they decide to create their own blog or website. Many use it as a platform to share their opinions with others. Others see it as a great way to build up their name or business.

Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus can also play a big role in a blogger’s effort to promote themselves, but they have their drawbacks too. Facebook is a great tool, but when it comes to self-promotion they use a pay to play kind of system where you only see limited content and if you want to be more viral you need to pay for it. Twitter is widespread, but also limited, a maximum of 140 characters per tweet will only get you so far. As for Google Plus, well, it may claim big numbers, but when’s the last time you actually hopped onto your account?

Anyone who runs a blog knows that it takes a fair amount of time (and sometimes, money) to create the kind of interesting content that keeps visitors coming back — or to entice others to contribute to it. Getting a return on your investment can be challenging, but for many bloggers and personal website owners having your own blog is a great opportunity to make some extra cash. Continue reading

July 30, 2014

Why Google Plus is the antisocial network

antisocial

Google’s top-down approach doesn’t work when you’re trying to build a community

This is the second of a three-part series on Google Plus. Also see:
Hey Google! Here’s why Google+ is still a ghost town
Why Google Plus is more like a forum than a social network

Target audience: Marketing professionals, SEO specialists, PR pros, brand managers, businesses, nonprofits, educators, Web publishers, journalists.

Chris AbrahamOver the last few weeks I have been writing almost exclusively about Google Plus. The first article was a hopeful but disappointed look into the ghost town known as Google+. The second article was in response to those passionate G+ users who professed love for their online community home, Plus.

Well, in the words of my friend and colleague Ike Piggot:

“I really believe one of the issues with Google Plus is that it wasn’t ‘born organically.’ It was thrust upon us as an answer to a question no one was asking. It didn’t have a gestational period, and as such seems artificial. Like a little Android Baby, for lack of a better term.”

The virtual online community

Back in the 90s and early 2000s when online virtual communities were new to the web, three books defined the online community (and I recommend you read them all):

• The Virtual Community: Homesteading on the Electronic Frontier by Howard Rheingold
• Community Building on the Web: Secret Strategies for Successful Online Communities by Amy Jo Kim
• The Cathedral & the Bazaar: Musings on Linux and Open Source by an Accidental Revolutionary by Eric S. Raymond

While the first two books are explicitly about community development online, the third is about the emergent nature of distributed, asynchronous, online community in its creation, growth, and maintenance of the Linux operating system. Continue reading