Pictures for Blogs – How to Select Them Safely

July 8, 2013

by Jeanine Vecchiarelli                  return to JayVee Media Link LLC

camera side viewHubspot’s Pamela Vaughan recently posted some information that addressed a fear every blog writer carries: being accused of using pictures without the permission of their owners.  The consequences of doing that, even innocently, can be severe enough to heavily strain our businesses…and our reputations.  Let’s get it right from the start:

**Finding pictures on Google Images does NOT mean we are free to use them.  Most of them belong to their posters, and using them without express permission will run us afoul of their ownership rights.

**Merely giving attribution to pictures we find on the internet is not enough to keep us out of trouble if we get caught.

**Remember trust but verify?  Trusting that pictures have Creative Commons licenses just because they say they do can also land us in hot water.  Take a look at what HubSpot experienced when the company used pictures clearly but incorrectly labeled under Creative Commons licenses.

camera self portraitThe safest way to post a photo is to create or take one ourselves.  Of course, that is much easier said than done.  We can also sign up for stock photo services. But buying the rights to use such pictures can cost a small fortune.  If budgets are tight and original work is out of the question, then due diligence must dictate our choices.  We need to research good sources for quality images that are free to use.  Most fall under the category of Creative Commons licenses, an easy way for their creators to allow sharing of their work.  Often the only requirement for using such licensed photos is giving proper attribution. Sometimes there is a request to include a designated link as well.  There may be additional requirements, so attention must be paid to the details.

Lilach Bullock recently posted a wonderfully informative article listing multiple sources of free-to-use and inexpensive photos.  Her post is a great resource and well worth reading:  “How to Find Free and Cheap Images for Your Blog.”

Harking back to Pamela Vaughan’s HubSpot horror story, we need to remember to use due diligence even when pics we wish to use are labeled with Creative Commons licenses.  We need to be sure the labeling is accurate.

Above all, we must remember that merely giving attribution may NOT be enough – especially if we can’t locate the licensing of the photos we wish to use.  We need to try locating the owners of the pictures so we may obtain express permission first.

How do you find safe images for your blog posts?  Which sites do you use?  Please share your experiences in the camera piccomments section below!

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Google Carousel – How to Hop Onboard!

July 1, 2013

by Jeanine Vecchiarelli                         return to JayVee Media Link LLC

Google Carousel – a feature that gives an awesome advantage to getting found among competitors in local search – has been rolled out to desktops in the U.S.  Are you ready to take a ride?  Here’s what you need to know:

What IS Google Carousel?

Originally a feature for tablets, Google’s Carousel activates on desktops when users effect searches for local businesses.  It is a series of thumbnail pictures placed horizontally across the top of search engine results pages (SERPs) in a filmstrip-type format.  The photos are of businesses that meet the inputted search criteria.  They contain additional information as well:  addresses, number of Google reviews, and sometimes price ranges for goods/services.  The “filmstrip” may be advanced by clicking an arrow at its right end.

Google carousel

Clicking on one of the thumbnail photos brings up more detailed information on the business portrayed there:  additional photos and location details, contact info, hours of operation, website URLs, Google reviews, more links and other information come into view at the top of the SERP page, right under the thumbnail strip.

Google Carousel expanded view

How do we get onboard?

Google’s Carousel helps companies that can’t make the coveted first few spots on the regular vertical result listings to be visible right at the top of the SERPs, which is an obvious benefit.  It allows them to be seen in an eye catching way, with pertinent details right there for the taking.  From where does Google get all this information about the businesses?  It pulls the details from those companies’ Google Plus profiles and local listings – a critical reason to fully optimize and use those Google Plus profiles, as well as provide eye-catching pictures and complete details for local listings.

Since Google applies search algorithms when selecting the companies to showcase in its Carousel, it makes sense to provide the platform with as much visual and textual information as possible.  This includes cross listings on other directory sites such as Yelp, as well as the number of Google followers and reviewers companies have.  The more they show, the better their chances are of winning one of those coveted spots.

One post script: with this initial desktop rollout, Google Carousel deploys for local searches of restaurants, bars and hotels.  But the feature will soon expand to other industries.  So get your company’s Google Plus profile and local listing fully filled out and optimized.  You need to be ready for when the Carousel includes local search for your business niche!

Are you using Google Plus profiles for your business?  How complete is the information you supplied for them and for your local listings?  Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section below!

Google logo with carousels for Os

Hashtags: 3 Reasons Why They Are Good for Facebook

June 24, 2013

by Jeanine Vecchiarelli         return to JayVee Media Link LLC

Facebook and Hashtag figures shaking handsHashtags have finally arrived on Facebook.  They were greeted with fanfare from devotees of the feature, chagrin from a number of others, and renewed worry over how they might affect privacy settings.  So are they a good or a bad addition to Facebook?

Originally created for Twitter, many purists claim hashtags should not have come to that platform’s main competitor.  But they are widely used across many sites these days, including Pinterest, Google Plus, Vine and even Facebook’s own Instagram.  It was just a matter of time, as well as a dose of good reasoning. Here is why I believe hashtags on Facebook are a good thing:

1. functionality

hashtag under microscope

Hashtags make conversations searchable.  They categorize topics of discussion, making them more easily visible to people who wish to follow and/or participate in them.  On Facebook, specific hashtags may be found using the search bar.  Those who wish to add their voices to the conversation can do so directly from the search result page.  Hashtags also give brands an edge by making it easy for them to track activity related to their businesses.  And engaging in the broader forum allowed by hashtags may attract new fans and followers to those brands.

2. cross-platform compatibility

hashtag surrounded by social media platforms

Hashtagged topics and posts can be accessed on a profile even if they originated on another platform that supports the feature.  What a great way to pull in and contribute to a conversation that is trending throughout the social media world!  This cross-platform compatibility is another reason brands love that hashtags have expanded to Facebook.  The move completes the circle of major social networks businesses use, and hence must monitor.  And again, the ability of those brands to reach a broader audience across a multitude of social media platforms increases the opportunity to be liked and followed by new people, who may become customers.

3. Facebook privacy

Facebook’s admins have promised that the platform’s hashtags will respect users’ privacy settings.  That said, those settings need to be checked REGULARLY.  Facebook seems to like changing them.  So be vigilant and confirm your desired settings are in force before sending EVERY post!  As long as they are in effect, hashtags will respect them.

How do you feel about Facebook’s rollout of hashtags?  Please share your thoughts in the comments section below!

See also:  “Hashtags Are Our Friends

Your Content is Top Flight; How to Get it Seen

June 17, 2013

by Jeanine Vecchiarelli                    return to JayVee Media Link LLC

first prize winning blogAs we know, content is the primary driver of activity and engagement in the social media realm.  We are aware that in order to inform, entertain and excite our target audiences, our original content must be

–created and shared consistently;
–well researched;
–high value in its ability to solve a problem or address a need;
–delivered in a personable, entertaining manner.

We even comprehend the importance of spelling, grammar, sentence structure and thought flow.  With all these bases covered, why are we STILL not seeing the traffic and response our posts should be receiving?

While what’s inside is what counts, without attractive “packaging” and unique presentation there is a good chance our content may be swallowed up in the sea of millions of other blog posts released every minute of every day, by every writer on the internet.  It is critical that we think outside the box in all possible ways to draw attention to OUR content.  Here are two strategies to help achieve that goal:

Looking Good!

font styles in book

I have a confession to make: I am a recovering Comic Sans junkie.  I wanted a different look when I started JayVee Media Link’s blog site.  The most common font I saw on others’ sites was Times New Roman; the second was Arial.  Both are attractive; but I didn’t want my site to look like all the rest.  Comic Sans appealed to me, and I didn’t see it anywhere else (my daughter told me there was a good reason no one used it, but hey, why listen to reason?).  I decided to go with Comic Sans, laughing off my daughter’s humiliation.  Just over a year later I came across a terrific post: Best Fonts for the Web, by Kathy Marks. Nowhere on that list was Comic Sans!  That, coupled with other scathing comments I saw convinced me to FINALLY ditch that font in favor of Verdana (to the thrill and delight of my daughter!).  But seriously, it is a great idea to research a different look for our blog pages.  Pick a font that works well, and that preferably isn’t too widely used.  It’s a great way to stand out while nicely complementing the eye catching optimized pictures we add to our posts.

The WOW Factor

With outstanding blog posts ready to be shared, how do we convince our target audiences to click our links?

1. We can use the power of our pictures.  Rather than uploading our blog posts’ links directly to our social media sites, upload their best pictures. When we do, they open in an eye catchingly big way.  Before posting add short teasers and the links to their corresponding blog posts in the accompanying text.  We can also pin those attention-grabbing pictures on our Pinterest boards or share them via Instagram, again with links back to their corresponding blog posts.

2. Google “social media sites.” Entry after entry comes up, offering information about countless platforms that exist.  Some may cater to specific interests or fields; others may be broad like the big guys, but more modest in membership numbers.  Chances are BECAUSE they are smaller platforms there may be less competition among blog posts.  That means ours have a better chance of being seen and shared.  It is worth doing some research into whether any of these social media platforms that are considered “second string” to the most popular sites might return better results than those biggest ones, and hence should be included in our sharing activities.

Vine and Dubbler logos3. With the introduction and rapid rise of innovative social sharing sites such as Vine, which allows us to create 6 second looping videos, and Dubb, in which we can create audio recordings of up to one minute, we have an opportunity to put a truly novel twist on our blog sharing activities!  Why not create enticing audio or visual teasers, and link our resulting presentations to our blog posts when sharing?

For a more expansive look at these options plus more, Kimberly Reynolds’ post “5 Creative Ways to Drive More Traffic to Your Blog Posts” is an invaluable resource!

These days there is a tremendous amount of competition across the worldwide web.  We need to rise above it all if we are to get our content noticed, appreciated and shared.  How do YOU accomplish this daunting feat?  Please share your thoughts in the comments section below!

Penguin 2.0: Friend or Foe?

June 10, 2013

by Jeanine Vecchiarelli              return to JayVee Media Link LLC

Google Penguin 2.0Penguin 2.0, Google’s latest search ranking algorithm tweak, is just over a week old.  Have you seen a difference of any kind in your site’s ranking because of it?  If you have been doing the right thing you probably didn’t even know it made its debut on May 22.  But if you live to game the system you had best beware!

Google’s latest algorithm update is the product of huge strides in the ability of the search bots to intelligently gather and analyze information.  Using data and feedback it has amassed over the past few years – especially since the original Penguin launched – this new version has become exceptionally intuitive regarding good and not-so-good optimization practices.  Chances are better now than ever before that users of frowned upon “black hat” optimization techniques will be caught and “busted.”

Basically, the way to ensure that our good rankings remain so is to play by the rules.  Google wants to deliver the best quality search results for its users.  The best quality comes from site owners who work diligently to 1. maintain and promote consistently strong branding; and 2. deliver top tier value that others want to consume and share.  When the quality is there it also attracts valuable links from other highly regarded, relevant sites.  This cycle proves authenticity, which in turn instills confidence from Google.  That confidence translates into higher search rankings.

Conversely, collecting links that are irrelevant to our fields and/or of poor quality just to show high volume does not inspire confidence, and will actually adversely affect our search rankings.  Google rightly believes that high quality, authoritative sites need not resort to such sham practices in order to make themselves appear deserving of high rankings.  Hence, it views gamers of its system unkindly.

In the end, it all comes down to this:  maintaining great search rankings on Google is simple.  But it is NOT easy.  It is simple to understand what Google wants us to do – play by the rules in order to help it achieve its goals.  But doing the work that’s needed to achieve what Google wants from us is not easy or quick.  Patience, perseverance, and a strong commitment to the moral path will ultimately save the day for our sites.  These qualities will make Google happy, which in turn will reflect positively in the form of higher rankings and protection from harm when future algorithm changes are introduced.

Did you see any difference in your rankings after Penguin 2.0 rolled out?  Please share your experiences in the Google Penguin 2.0 gives a warningcomments section below!

Google+: 6 Reasons To Be There Now!

June 3, 2013

by Jeanine Vecchiarelli            return to JayVee Media Link LLC

Google Plus has been the topic of much debate – and more than a little derision – until recently.  It was labeled a Facebook knock-off with the unfair advantage of having Google as its parent.  A large number of social media aficionados turned their noses up at the platform, predicting that it would never amount to anything significant.  It’s not often so many knowledgeable people would be wrong, but these days it looks as though that is exactly the case.  Boasting over 343 million users, the once maligned social media platform has grown to become the second largest on the internet. As it has evolved, a number of features have won the minds and hearts of many former naysayers:

1. Ranking

Google Plus profile page links boxYES, Google indexes its G+ platform’s posts for search ranking!  Instead of deriding that fact, more and more people are coming to embrace it.  Why not use the advantage it offers, considering how competitive the rankings game is?  Users maximize benefits through judicious use of niche keywords in their posts, and by including links to their websites, blog pages and other social media sites in the link section of their profile descriptions.

2. Post diversity

Google Plus hashtagged and tagged postGoogle Plus is likely the only major social media platform that supports every kind of post with no limitations.  Text, pictures, videos, even full blog posts are supported. As a nice bonus, we have the ability to format our posted text with bold, italic and strikethrough features.  Plus, downloadable files like pdfs and word documents can be shared directly on the platform. Posts on G+ are also very easy to target using hashtags and tagging.  For convenience, tagged people in our posts may respond via email.

3. Hangouts

No other social media platform offers a feature like Hangouts.  These on-air video chats allow wide ranging discussion among up to nine participants, complete with capabilities for slideshow presentations, screen sharing, and other collaborative activities via access to Google Drive.  They can be recorded for later posting, too.  The business possibilities offered by Hangouts are virtually limitless!

4. Communities

Google Plus’ Communities are fairly new, having been introduced last December.  Like groups or forums on other platforms, they allow easy connection and information sharing among people who have a common interest, business, etc.  We can join existing communities or create new ones.  Such involvement allows us direct lines of information about our particular interests, as well as an opportunity to share what we know with others who may not otherwise see our posts.

5. Business pages

Google Plus JayVee Media Link business page

Google Plus is one of the most business friendly of the popular social media platforms.  In addition to post diversity and huge cover pictures, we have the flexibility of opening up to 50 different business pages per gmail address.  This is great if we wish to feature different products or services, or even just to showcase different facets of our companies.

6. New design

Google Plus’ new interface is much more user friendly than it has ever been before.  Features are more easily accessible, post streams are cleaner (users can choose single or double column streams), and the revamped size for our cover pictures – 2120 pixels, or 16” by 9”- allows more room for unlimited visual representation than is offered on any other platform.

For all the above listed features, Google Plus is the social media place to be today.  Not having a presence on the platform is a serious liability considering all the vital tools and features available to those who establish a presence there.

Which is your favorite Google Plus feature?  One listed here, or another?  Please share your thoughts in the comments section below!

3 Reasons Too-Good-to-be-True Social Media Promises are Just That

May 27, 2013

by Jeanine Vecchiarelli                      return to JayVee Media Link LLC

Social media profiles set up, optimized and branded; 100 press release submissions; reputation management; daily content creation; ongoing SEO; forum participation; client relationship management; link building; article submissions; video creation… The list went on for two full pages:
email excerpt showing unrealistic social media promises
All for the low price of…and the named price was enough to hook the most gullible of business owners trying to launch social media as part of their marketing efforts.  Then, for the clincher, there was the GUARANTEE:  a top 10 Google ranking.  Such was the content of an unsolicited email recently received by a client of mine.  He forwarded it to me with the comment, “This sure looks like a lot for the price they are asking.”  I responded by thanking him for the opportunity to see what the charlatans in my field are doing.  My client then said, “You can do all that!  Why don’t YOU advertise like that?”  And so the lesson began once again.

fingers crossed behind backReason #1: There is no such thing as a guarantee of top ranking on Google or any other major search engine.  Be wary of ANY company who makes such promises, ESPECIALLY for bargain basement prices.  Top rankings are achieved through intensive, strategic work and constant monitoring of and adaptation to changing algorithms.  While all this is possible, it cannot be done cheaply.  Nor can it be achieved by one person singlehandedly.  Furthermore, even if this goal is attained, it takes just as much time and monetary investment to remain at the top of the rankings.

fingers crossed behind back croppedReason #2: There aren’t enough hours in a day for one or two or even three people to execute every one of the activities promised in this glorious sounding message.  The broad scope of what this company is offering must be undertaken by a closely integrated group of people, each specializing in one or two aspects, and each investing a considerable amount of time.  Again, this does not come cheaply.

fingers crossed behind back close upReason #3: The company’s promised time frame cannot be guaranteed because the process cannot be rushed. The outreach, engagement and trust building that comprise successful social media marketing take time; for the company to represent its “strategy” as a quick road to success is disingenuous and misleading.

As an interesting aside, I also noticed this company’s promise to build large numbers of fans/followers for the social media profiles it would set up for its clients.  Intrigued, I visited its Facebook business page.  The site boasted several thousand fans.  Wow!  Yet the vast majority of page posts bore a smattering of likes or comments by the same few people.  Employees, perhaps?  Made me wonder…

The only possible conclusion to draw from this experience is that messages we receive which promise the world for the price of a cup of coffee are not to be taken seriously.  Those who send such paraphernalia devalue the social media marketing industry and make the credible businesses in the field look bad.  And anyone on the receiving end of such nonsense who takes the bait will undoubtedly wind up paying much more than promised and receiving much less than guaranteed.  It is best to remember the old adage “If it looks too good to be true, it IS.”

How do you handle messages like the one discussed here?  What do you tell your clients if they approach you after having received one?  Please share your thoughts in the comments section below!

Broken Promises pic for blog post mildly touched up with watermark  5 27 2013

Four Ways to Brand Our Twitter Profiles

May 20, 2013

by Jeanine Vecchiarelli                              return to JayVee Media Link LLC

Twitter’s importance in the realm of social media marketing cannot be disputed.  Recent reports have found the platform has gained in significance even more quickly than Facebook and almost every other social media site.  This should come as no surprise considering its versatility and powerful targeting tools.  What DOES surprise, in light of this information, is how many business Twitter accounts I come across whose branding is nonexistent, or minimal at best.  Twitter offers a number of ways to brand our profiles.  We should make full use of all those options to make our profile pages all about our unique brands.

Background images

No matter how informative and inspiring our business posts may be, they lose their punch if they are housed on profile pages adorned by any of the generic backgrounds offered by Twitter.  And while certain services may offer more diverse choices for backgrounds, the fact remains that they are available to anyone. Chances are good they do not even represent our brands’ colors.  Using any of these backgrounds will not make our business profile pages stand out as uniquely ours.

JayVee Media Link Twitter profile screen shot

Custom branded Twitter backgrounds should be planned and designed by whoever created our companies’ branding graphics.  Ideally, they should match what appears on our websites, and also on all our other social media platforms that allow custom branding.  Greg Trujillo provides a good resource plus template for proper dimensions and other specifics in his post “Twitter Background Design 2013.”  Completed custom backgrounds can be uploaded by going to our profile pages (via the Me link).  Placing our cursors in the cover picture field makes visible an edit button in the area’s upper right corner. Click that, then go to “Design” in the left column. Scroll down past Twitter’s premade choices to “Customize your own.”

Twitter design options screen shot

Profile pictures

Photos of us are preferred over those of logos or objects for our profile pictures.  We have plenty of space on our Twitter profiles for branding; our profile pictures need to allow others to see that they are interacting with actual people.  This is especially reassuring when we consider the number of fake profiles populating the platform.  Our profile pictures should be professional looking head shots – preferably the same ones that we use for our websites and our other business social profiles.

Header images

Header images are a fairly new feature on Twitter.  They offer even more space to brand, in an ideal spot:  around our profile pictures.  We should make optimal use of this area, which includes our bios and links to our websites and other social sites.  Good information about dimensions and other particulars for this feature can be found in the post “Check Out the Correct Twitter Header Size and Resolution.”

Branding colors

When branding our Twitter backgrounds it is of course important to incorporate our brand’s representative colors.  In doing so, we must not forget about the links on our profiles!  The edit design screen includes space to customize this important element. It is best to know the hex numbers, or online identification tags, of our specific branding colors when effecting this customization.  We just need to input our desired hex number into the appropriate box for link color.  We can also input a hex number to use a branded color for the background of our actual Twitter feed itself. Save changes, and done!

Twitter customize link color screen shot

Are you making the best use of all the customization capabilities Twitter gives us?  Have you implemented any special branding ideas to give your profile an extra edge? Please share your strategies in the comments section below!

Phishing for Trouble

May 13, 2013

by Jeanine Vecchiarelli             return to JayVee Media Link LLC

Staying safe online is becoming a more daunting task with each passing day.  Reports of malicious activities are steadily increasing, and perpetrators are becoming more resourceful in their efforts to part us from our sensitive personal information.  Every one of us can likely count multiple examples we’ve witnessed recently among some of the most popular vehicles for malicious activity:

Posts that pique curiosity or play on emotion

malicious Facebook post

We see them all the time.  Direct messages on Twitter that say things like “What are you doing in this picture??  LOL” or “Hey people are saying some really nasty things about you.  Terrible.”  These statements are followed, of course, by short links that virtually scream to be clicked.  Then there are the ad-type messages we see on Facebook, bearing such enticing messages as “Do YOU have Facebook stalkers?  Click here to see who is checking out YOUR profile now!”  Taking the bait on any one of these posts will land us in a world of trouble, ranging from replicating the malicious messages and sending them to everyone in our contact lists to stealing our identities and other private information.

The number one way to avoid becoming victims of scams such as these is to remember that the messages are not true. They are fabrications meant to entice us to click their accompanying links. If we harbor any doubts at all, instead of clicking we should use a link expander such as LongURL. Pasting the message’s link into such a tool enables us to see its long form version.  In most cases that should offer all the convincing we need.

malicious Twitter direct message exposed

Spoofing

Much of the malicious mischief taking place recently has been in the form of spoofing.  This tactic entails taking names from our contact lists, using them to open up bogus email accounts, and then sending messages with malicious links to us and others in our contact lists.  Obviously, the thinking is we are more likely to trust links/attachments contained in email messages we think are from friends.  Unfortunately, the perpetrators of this nastiness are exactly right in their assumptions.

Do know that even if our names are taken for spoofing it doesn’t necessarily mean that our accounts were hacked.  If the email addresses attached to malicious messages are not ours, chances are the perpetrators just took our names to mask their dirty work.

The only way to protect ourselves against spoofing attacks is to treat every message attachment, regardless of from whom it appears to come, as though it was coming from strangers.  Unless we are expecting to receive one, we need to message our contacts to confirm they did indeed send us an attachment.

Phishing

We all have been “phished” at least once in our online lives.  My most recent experience was a few weeks ago.  I received an email, supposedly from Paypal, informing me that there was a problem (undisclosed, of course) with my account.  I needed to sign in via the link provided and update my information to resolve the issue.  These emails can look indistinguishable from the real things, and clicking on their links will take us to phony sites that look identical to the real ones.  The only way to tell they are fakes is to try all links on the “sites.”  This is not foolproof, but usually the only link that will work is the one they need us to click in order to deliver our personal information.  So the only way to ensure safety is to remember the golden rules:

1. No reputable business will ask us to reply to its email messages or click links contained within them to supply personal information.  If the messages request such info in that manner DO NOT RESPOND.  Report/forward the messages to the actual business sites that are being impersonated, then delete them.

2. For confirmation and peace of mind, it is advisable to check any of our sites we suspect may be victims of impersonation.  This needs to be done by opening a new tab in our browsers and manually typing in the URL for these sites.  Never, NEVER attempt to visit them by clicking links provided in suspicious emails.  Chances are excellent they will take us somewhere we do not want to go.

phishing attempt exposed

What form of suspicious communication have you received most recently?  How did you handle it?  Please share your experiences in the comments section below.

Social Media Automation: Boon or Bust?

May 6, 2013

by Jeanine Vecchiarelli            return to JayVee Media Link LLC

robot for automationTo automate or not to automate? That is a very popular question these days.  And it’s one that appears to inspire passionate debate!

The way people use social media automation ultimately determines whether the practice is a good or a bad one.  We DO need to remember that for social interaction to be successful we must be present for it!  Automation needs to be recognized for what it is – a set of tools, rather than an end in itself.

Automate to Share

One useful type of automation consists of tools that help us to quickly curate great quality content by other leaders and peers in our fields.  Sharing value is one of the most important ingredients of successful social media marketing.  The activity engenders trust and loyalty among our followers, who appreciate the no strings attached information we share with them.  As an added bonus, the content we regularly share helps us to stay visible among our fans and followers throughout each day.

The downside to content curation is the inordinate amount of time we would need to spend researching and evaluating posts we deem important enough to share if we had to undertake this necessary activity manually.  Such a time investment would render impossible the equally important activity of real time responding and conversing with our fans/followers.  Tools like Bundlepost offer wonderful methods of accomplishing curation while still maintaining ample opportunity for the real time interactions on which successful social media marketing turns.  In this light, social media automation is definitely a good thing.

Schedule for Smarter Real-Time Presence

Another facet of social media automation that hits the proverbial hot button is the actual advance scheduling of the posts we wish to share.  Opponents of the practice often paint proponents as lazy and apathetic about the germination and nurturing of those all important social media relationships.  In actuality, proper use of advance scheduling tools offers benefits that would be very difficult to attain if every post we shared was in real time.  For example, we may wish to target specific time sensitive posts to a certain segment of our prospects/clients who are located in different time zones.  It makes much better sense to schedule copies of our posts to arrive within the necessary time frames, targeted to our fans/followers in each applicable time zone than it does to manually resend our messages at the necessary times for each time zone we need to target.

As noted earlier, advance scheduling of value posts keeps our companies present and visible among our social media platforms for our clients and prospects to see.  Ideally, these should serve as “anchor” posts which we use to stimulate enthusiasm and spark good conversation among our fans/followers.  In other words, advance scheduling does NOT mean we may walk away from our accounts.  Proper use of this feature allows us to spend even more time present and engaging with our audiences, ultimately guiding them down our sales funnels.  Truly, the only fail with this system is for those with an automation “set it and forget it” mentality.

Which social media automation tools have you tried?  Which ones do you prefer for your business?  Please share your social media automation tool logosexperiences in the comments section below!