Where am I? Might be a better title. 4 plus years into this start up and trying desperately to get serious about my social media presence, branding, and close to producing an actual product or 2, or 3, to sell wholesale, and retail.
Every day there are areas to address that I am not an expert in solving. So, I prioritize. What first? Well, it’s kinda like a fire that is spreading. The more I learn, the more I know that I need to know, but don’t. If I ask for direction, I can assume that each area of importance will and does have immense impact on the success of each of the others. Like pillars supporting an overhead structure, my take is that my website should be sound first (it isn’t). Then, connecting my website presence to social media…? Yes, I know quite a bit more about this now.
I can say that I now (still don’t) have access to all the right tools, apps, apps that work within and between other apps, cutting edge advice from top performers, and I get the feeling that I have been trying to drink from a fire hose to learn it all. Ok, I’ve scratched the surface pretty hard anyway. And, I have several take aways for start ups seeking to launch their products and services while they grow and coordinate their social media presence.
No, I’m no expert, I’m far more dangerous than that. I don’t have the luxury of actually knowing what I am doing. I just have to get it done. The funny part is, all the so called experts are just trying to keep up just like me. There are a ton of free products out there to help you and I will share with you what I can about the ones I am working with and my take on how that’s going for me. Please take this opportunity, everyone trying to market your tools to me and everyone else, to correct my thinking and steer me in better directions, point out when I am flat out wrong, stupid, or just off base, which may be often.
Top of the mind tools that I use: connecting social media and auto re-post on another platform apps that I use a lot, but have unique advantages and problems:
1) Instagram, love it, hate how it posts to Twitter directly, also using Layout, a sub-app within an app, and yes, they get confusing (something about who owns them…?). Solution: use IF (IFTT, IfThisThenThat, also Do, Do Camera – eh, getting confusing, you had me at IF and IFTT) confusing name, but it posts my pics and vids so they actually show up in the Twitter feed, where Instagram slights Twitter by only providing a lame link. Nuff said here. Layout from Instagram is fast and great for adding collage pics to post.
2) Buffer, there is Hoot Suite and others, but Buffer was easy to sign into, has easy to use browser links, and is free so far and works great. It has it’s own issues, but I can use my iPhone 6 or my Apple laptop to repost most anything I find. Again, native inclusion of most all graphics and title work best on FaceBook, where Twitter again is a lame text link, unless you go out of your way to copy the picture and upload it separately for Twitter posting, which seems to work well, and I get more retweets, depending on the subject matter. Take away for all new tools: make signing up fast and easy using FaceBook or Twitter, and make connecting all social media accounts just as easy, or you will not get us to use your tools. Period. *I may unfairly bash or praise tools that I tried before they improved or screwed up their sign up processes, but ease of use is mandatory.
3) CrowdFire provides easy unfollows to those not following back. Bitly to shorten a link to your website, FB page, and save you tons of Twitter characters. Stats iPhone app can track your progress relative to a competitor or benchmark company, product by Twitter name. Rebel Mouse, I want to use more, but remain impressed by the fact that they email you your recent posts and encourage you to forward the email to your email base, which will help grow social media and still connect to those that you can only reach by email, and make you look awesome to those not paying much attention to your Twitter and FaceBook post, but might be greatly influenced by email.
I am writing this post directly in WordPress, but have also found other ways to post, if I can just remember them and use them. Hint, reminder emails that encourage usage of your tools will prompt us to do more than just sign up and forget about your tools. Hey, there’s a lot to remember. Oh, I have a WordPress app on my iPhone 6. Maybe, Ill look at it again. **Update 1/28/2016: I just don’t use it, but it works pretty good at posting, if you are away from your computer, and want to get something out fast. Nice to know that I have this option, mobile.
4) Other impressive tools and companies: Post Planner, helps you find stuff to post and has great analytics. I get stuck on some bloggers posts and try to find stuff on other platforms, but tend to do well with popular posts, and these guys do that for you, probably better than I do on my own, but I don’t want to look like a drone that only posts popular stuff. Commun.it provides a great dashboard combining accounts and adds a way to thank people and identify influencers. I intend to see what else I can do with this one. **Update 1/28/2016: Commun.it is awesome, and makes me look good and responsive, which I pretty much am anyway, but they make sure you don’t miss stuff. Considering upgrading for more goodies from them.
5) **Update 1/28/2016: This is not a tool, but a sage guide through the mess that is social media. Gary Vaynerchuk is by far the most helpful voice out there. The #AskGaryVee Show is my favorite way to consume his topical, in-depth insiders take on everything social media related. You might find yourself going back to older episodes, again and again, to learn even more.