Social Media

The Article Perusing Solution is Going Well

meetedgar social media toolI devised a solution at work to attempt to read as many of the articles that we cover as possible. It's not a perfect solution, as it heavily depends on the writers taking the time to put their sources on the documents, but so far it has been working very well. I can get through two verticals in about 90 minutes. When I started testing the solution earlier this week, 90 minutes for two vertical might've been too much time. However, I discovered an AWESOME social media management tool called MeetEdgar that helps tremendously.

What is MeetEdgar?

MeetEdgar is different from other social media management tools in that it allows you to build up a queue for your accounts. So, instead of just scheduling five posts over the next five days, MeetEdgar will cycle through those five posts until you tell it to stop. The tool comes with a default schedule as well, so you don't even have to spend time arranging when you want each post to go live. Just upload the content and MeetEdgar will take care of the rest.

Oddly enough, I discovered MeetEdgar on Twitter after someone I followed tweeted that they just signed up. The tweet said something about "making sure your social media posts don't go to waste," or something to that effect. I was intrigued so I clicked the MeetEdgar handle to ultimately go their website. I watched their two-minute demo video and I was hooked. This was EXACTLY what I needed! And not just for this solution, but also for my job in general. Posting to our various social media accounts is a huge time suck for me. Although I only do two or three accounts per day, I have to spend the time finding something good to post, then crafting the post and then scheduling the post. All of that doesn't include checking for comments, following people, inviting people to the page etc.

MeetEdgar is instrumental to my solution because after I spend time initially uploading a ton of content to the Twitter and Facebook accounts for each of the verticals, I only need to spend about an hour or 90 minutes every day or every other day removing old content and uploading a couple of new posts. Besides that, each account will have 10 or 15 posts to cycle through over the course of the week. I don't have to worry so much about getting new content onto the Facebook page or the Twitter feed. Instead, I can spend that time perusing the content for the weekly newsletter, or looking for ideas for blog posts, infographics and other original content.

The Next Step is to Devote the Time

Besides the writers not doing their share and forgetting to put their stories on the doc, the other big hurdle that I have is to make the time to peruse articles every day. Every day doesn't easily lend itself to having 90 minutes to set aside. Meetings come up. Emergencies need to get taken care of. My boss prioritizes another project that requires my attention. I think if I make an effort to set aside time to read these articles, then my next steps would involve documenting ideas, creating the content, and possibly looking to automate other aspects of this system. But, for right now, the goals are to make perusing articles daily a habit and to stock MeetEdgar with lots of content for all of the accounts. Once MeetEdgar is taking care of and I have a really good grasp of the stories we're covering each day, I can then move onto other initiatives and figuring out how to make time for those initiatives.

How Many Articles Can I Peruse in a Workday?

how many articles can i read in a dayAnd Can I Finish This Blog Post Before My Fiance Goes to Bed?

It seriously freaks me out when my fiance goes to bed before me. I have no idea why. He's just going to the next room and won't even completely close the day because the cat needs to be able to go in and out. But, I can't stand the notion of him asleep before me, with all of the lights out in the rest of the apartment. It's too much. I don't like it. When he shuts the light off by desk and I hear that 'click,' I start winding down as quickly as possible (not the right way to wind down, I know) so I can go to bed as soon as I can. It just feels late when he goes to bed before me and it feels like a sign I just shouldn't be up too much longer or else bad things will happen.

Anyway... Articles!

So, my first step to hustling is to get a record outside of our app and CMS of every article that we cover. We easily cover 400 stories a day: 20 to 30 stories per vertical plus another 100 or so for top news. No, I'm not going to read all 400 of those articles each day. That's not possible. But, a Google Sheet for each vertical with an easy glance at that day's 20 or 30 stories is much more digestible. With an easy glance of the source link and the description, I can pick out a couple of stories that look extra interesting or that look like they may have excellent facts, quotes or statistics that would make great social media content.

To build social media communities and, ultimately, fuel growth and get installs, our channels needs to present more online than what we're doing now. Our Twitter handles need to offer more than the lede sentence and the link to the update. The main handle needs to do more than tweet a lede and the original source link with the author tagged. All of that content is great, but because it's not much different from what's offered in the apps, there's little value in both downloading the app(s) and in following us on social media. Sure, someone may miss the story on the app and then catch on Twitter, or vice versa, but even that's kind of a poor value proposition. A major factor in making social media work for you is to have content tailored to the platform, where even though we're sharing the same story across Facebook, Twitter on our app, it should not look identical across the three platforms.

Separate Content for Our Newsletter

With the stories in a Google Sheet, I can avoid looking at the updates directly to have a fresh interpretation of the articles. A fresh interpretation is needed for our upcoming newsletter, although I do not know exactly the contents of this newsletter. I sent a survey to our mailing list since we haven't emailed them in over a year (hey, it wasn't my list to begin with, so I didn't have any idea who was on this list or why they were there). This survey asked how often they'd like the newsletter, what they would like it in and why they signed up in the first place. From the responses I've received, it's looking like this will be a weekly email that features summaries of our top stories. To be able to put such a newsletter together, I need to know everything we've covered for the week and then decide our top drones story, our top video games and a couple of our top breaking stories etc.

Getting this done shouldn't be a problem. The next step now is learning first-hand how many articles I can peruse in a given amount of time. Today, I'm going to give myself one hour and see how many articles I can get through. The day afterward, I may do 90 minutes or two hours, depending on my schedule and how well today goes. The goal is to see if this is a viable solution to a) finding great social media content in the stories we already cover and b) useful in finding ideas to cover for the upcoming newsletter.

If it doesn't work, then I'm not sure what I would do. At the moment, I need to be able to do this on my own.

How to Generate Quality Leads on LinkedIn

generating leads LinkedInLinkedIn is kind of like that social network standing in the corner at the middle school dance. Everyone knows LinkedIn is there, but no one interacts with him like they do with Facebook and Pinterest. It’s kind of sad really, because LinkedIn has a lot to offer, and could do a better job of generating leads than Facebook or Twitter, especially for B2B companies. Part of the reason why LinkedIn can be such a good lead generator is that the mood and demographic of the professional network is much different from the other sites. People create profiles for work purposes, connect with others for work purposes, and join groups for work purposes. So, why not generate leads, you know, for work purposes? Here’s how to generate quality leads on LinkedIn:

  1. Set Up Your Company Page – If your company doesn’t have a LinkedIn page yet, then take the time to set one up and to add any coworkers who would work on the page (salespeople, marketers etc.) A company page is a starting point for generating leads and moving prospects through the buying process since it’s a place to direct people that are interested in your products and services. You do need a company email (, for example) to open a company page. Unfortunately, Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail etc. won’t work.
  2. Fill In the Company Page – When directing people to your LinkedIn company page, you don’t want to just have the same info listed there as on your website. Adding products and services gives you something specific to lead prospects to, but these pages also allow you to add a video or a promotion to the product if one is applicable. You’ll also be able to add your blog feed, any news items that mention your company, or links to your sales associates, so potential customers could connect with someone to talk to.
  3. Participate in Relevant Group Discussions – We actually got a customer this way, and all it entailed was participating in group discussions from time to time. Don’t spend the time promoting yourself, but actually adding to the conversation and responding to any replies. Doing this brings visibility to you, and your company, and you may find someone who is in need of the exact product or service you offer. An even better thing to do is to start a discussion in a group. This way, you can link to a blog post or your newsletter, and generate leads that way.
  4. Connect with People – Don’t just connect with business associates when you first set up your profile. Constantly connect with associates old and new. This keeps you (and your business) at the top of their mind while making it easy for you to get in touch with them if necessary. Besides people, it doesn't hurt to follow other companies, especially competitors and customers.
  5. Add Applications to Your Profile Page – LinkedIn pages have apps just like Facebook and you can make your (personal) profile a little more engaging. Apps range from your Amazon reading list, to your Wordpress blog feed, to your Slideshare presentations. You can showcase sides of yourself that may not be necessarily related to work, but could make you more relatable to potential clients and customers

It is possible to generate leads and to find customers on LinkedIn. Things just have to be done a little bit differently to get these leads, and the site is better suited for B2B companies. If you give LinkedIn the time and commitment necessary to create  a solid, professional presence, generating leads shouldn’t be any problem.

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Content Marketing Tech Tool of the Week: Squidoo

Social media is much more than Facebook and Twitter, as surprising as that may be. And this week's Tech Tool will expand your social media and content marketing boundaries just a little bit. Let me introduce you to Squidoo. I call Squidoo a cross between a blog and a website. It's like a blog where you compose a series of articles on various topics, whether their about you, your business, your specialties, your dog, whatever. However, Squidoo treats each article, or "lens", as more of webpage, where each article stands on its own and isn't necessarily kept in one place like a blog. Even if you have a blog, or a website, or both, I think that Squidoo can offer additional benefits to your content marketing strategy for several reasons.

First, Squidoo has you categorize each article, or lens. This is great since you often can't categorize your blog or your website with some directory, or with your web host. So, for example, if you're a freelancer who specializes in education topics, you can file your lenses under "Education", or even "Parenting and Kids", depending on the topic of your lens. Each category also comes with sub-categories, your niche lens is labeled according to what it's about, making it easier to find for others interested in education, parenting, or even the specific topic you wrote about.

Second, Squidoo is friendlier towards longer posts and actually encourages it. Although longer posts aren't unheard of in blogs, normally blogs posts are fewer than 800 words. If you want to do something longer, you can do so on Squidoo. Squidoo makes this easier by enabling a table of contents at the beginning of the article, after the section meant for your introduction. This table of contents is great for readers who may only be interested in certain parts of of your article. It's also great for search engine optimization, where each section could be titled with an appropriate keyword. Running with the education example, if you wrote an article called, "Most Popular College Majors," you could then have each title as keyword, like biology major, or communications major.

Third, Squidoo actually encourages you to write about yourself, or your blog, or your website. In blogging, particularly business blogging, it's highly discouraged to promote yourself or your newest product. Blogging experts say that readers are more interested in the valuable information you can provide them. However, in Squidoo, you can write about yourself or your newest product without being seen as someone who's just tooting your horn. Such lenses provide additional publicity for what you have to offer, and diversify your search engine results by adding Squidoo lenses.

Best of all, Squidoo is completely free to use and really easy to learn. There are even opportunities to earn money from your lenses, which is always nice. So, give this week's Tech Tool of the Week a shot.