Category Archives: Social Media Management System #HootAmb

M. Matheson

August 8, 2016

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If you are reading this, you already know it’s true. M. Matheson has gone from the land of UNDEAD Blogger page (no offense, it served me mediocre-like for years). Thank you, Google, but WordPress is better. I feel like a real… something. Let me pause to celebrate.

WhooHoo!!

WhooHoo!!

While you are here, pour a beverage of your choice, download a free story, read my last post, and Preorder Flatline. If you like anything you see send me a note. If something bugs you and sticks in your craw, do likewise.

WordPress made this chore a snap, my hat (if I wore one) is off in solemn salute.

Thank you, to all my loyal readers and fans. May your life be filled with peace and good things.

M. Matheson

Okay, I’ll admit it; this may be a bit of a rant, but if you will take the time to read it, you may get a laugh or two along with some tips on Twitter.
And, like the commands in God’s book, if you will follow them your Twitter-life will get better. So, whether you are a believer or not, strap your seatbelt tight and let’s go.

ONE

Thou shalt use a profile pic

Eggy??? Who are you?
Show some respect for yourself and your own dignity, if you have any.
Am I the only person whose nerves chafe at the sight of that pathetic looking egg?
Would you take anyone serious if your only image of them was a white two-dimensional egg hemmed in by a colored box?
Think – why are you on Twitter in the first place?
At the bare minimum, you want to share trashy tweets with your old college pals. In that case, do you really want them seeing you without your yolk? Take five minutes and show them what a badass you are (if you are a guy). Steal some pics off the internet like I did these.
If you are a girl make it sweet, sexy or both, just not trashy.
You have something to promote or share. Everyone does. Out of the 974 million existing Twitter accounts, there is someone interested in what you are selling or giving away, even if it’s only your opinion.
If you want a better than 1:974,000,000 chance of gaining followers that are interested in you or your product, 
GET A DAMN PROFILE PIC.
When I am sorting through the people that have followed me and deciding whether they are interesting enough to follow back,
I immediately exclude profiles with no pic.
Even if it just has to be a picture of your cat, dog, or giraffe in the newest sweater you knit for them,
I will consider following you
But if there is no profile pic, your race is over. You never made it out of the gate.


TWO

Thou shalt show your Bio

Write a Bio.
Write a Bio.
Oh, did I repeat myself?
Make yourself or your product sound interesting even if it’s concrete railroad ties. You only have 160 characters to do it.
No profanity. Put it in your posts, seeing it in your bio makes me wince and pass you by. I am not alone.
Tell the truth. Stretch the hell out of it all you want to, just don’t break it.
Tell us who you are. My Bio says more than it says. I’ve worked a long time on it and am still tweaking it to perfection.
I have lived as an Outlaw, but also a missionary.
Throughout the ‘70s and ‘80s, I was a motorcycle outlaw living on the fringes of society. From 1990 up until a few years ago, I was a missionary to the inner city and I traveled to other countries as an evangelist.
Today, I have published one book and write stories, all fictional tales that draw pictures of truth.
I am a social media curator guru. I currently curate twelve accounts. Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
GURU is a stretch, but I have done well.
Include relevant well-known hashtags.
Use only hashtags that you deserve or have a right to.
Include a link or two pointing to your blog, website, Facebook, Smashwords, a link to your product.


THREE

Thou shalt make a discernable header pic

Make it sharp, make it fit. Make me sit up and take notice.
Don’t cut off people or animal’s heads and other body parts, unless, of course, it is relevant to your genre. I.e. horror or zombie stuff.
Use a high-resolution photo or graphic. No pornography or anything close. No profanity. It’s a turn off even for people that use lots of it. Seeing expletives in a header or bio makes us wince and pass you by.
This template is 730 x 205, but I’ve found the using a 3:1 ratio on a higher resolution image and respecting the invisible areas will give you better results.


FOUR

Thou shalt Tweet MORE of your own stuff.

Leave more than a breadcrumb trail of original posts.
Here’s the deal. You have been kind enough to follow or retweet my post, so I go to your timeline looking for something of yours to retweet. In your last 100 posts, all I see is retweets of other posts. I really would like to promote your stuff. Really.
Don’t make me work so hard to find your original tweets.


FIVE

Thou shalt not automate your timeline

If it’s too easy or too cheap…
Sure it’s easy to turn over your account to a bot that retweets the tweets of people who interact with you, but it’s phony. It looks phony, and it smells phony.
Don’t use automated services such as Round Team. Everyone knows it and if they don’t, every so often there is a tweet that says, “So and so is sitting home watching TV while our computer tweets all the stuff you’re responding to. So and so is a big phony.”
What kind of friends do you want? Ones that have no choice because you hired them or people genuinely interested in you?
I have a high respect for the people I meet on Twitter.
My profile has a high percentage of organic followers that I grew by my own actions. They are appreciated and in turn I am valued by them.


SIX

Thou shalt not buy followers

Need I explain? See Commandment Five.


SEVEN

Thou shalt respond and do it quickly

This is the surest way to grow your account. As your account grows upwards of 10,000 followers it becomes a lot of work to follow up and reply to them all. Every day I set aside time to get to as many as possible. I also have tricks I use to make the chore easier.
I have been rewarded by over 10,000 followers and a Klout score of 61. 63 puts a person in the top 5%. Klout is the measure of how well people interact with your account.


EIGHT

Thou shalt keep your posts fresh

If you are selling something, intersperse your promotional tweets with items of interest, quotes, news, photos, and special events. The pros say to use a ratio of 80 interesting posts and 20 promotional posts. The 80 can include retweets.


NINE

Thou shalt utilize the ‘Pinned Tweet’ for your own damned good

Promote your best stuff at the top of your timeline. On your tweet, click the three dots to open up a menu and select pin tweet.
Change it regularly.
Not using this feature is the same as shooting yourself in the foot.


Ten

Thou shalt use images in your posts and format them correctly

Any image as long as it’s sized to the correct ratio of 2:1will show up in its entirety in the timeline. Any other size looks stupid and only shows a partial picture.
The best size image is 1024 x 512.
I make sure that after my text in the post I have 31 characters remaining; 24 for the image and a seven-character margin so when the post is retweeted the post won’t be truncated.


Finally

These are all things I learned along the way. They are what I consider the big ones. Profiles that violate these commands appear like …


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The 3 Stages of Building a Social Media Community

Hootsuite continues to be not only an invaluable tool for managing social media, they provide education on so many different levels. From the basic how to use the program to more in-depth articles on engaging customers, building a brand and how build a terrific following.

I just finished reading and watching a presentation, ‘The 3 Stages of Building a Social Media Community’ by Evan LePage a Hootsuite Author.

Stage 1: Building a Foundation for Social Media Community A foundation is critical to any enterprise whether you are building a life, a house or an online presence. This could be easy to miss for someone building a social media presence. The temptation could be to just put posts and pictures and leave it to marinate.

But, Evan pointed out that, ‘The foundation of social media community is built on two-way communication.”

One-way communication is no communication at all. 
All interactions such as follows and retweets on Twitter or comments in Facebook need to be acted on swift and positively. That is a key to building any relationship and is the backbone of a strong community.


Stage 2: A Growing Social Media Community is what everyone wants, but less of those are willing to do the work, often signing the elbow grease away to strange computers for $29.95 a month. That may gain you a truckload of uninvolved followers, but what we want is engagement.

The reality is, not all followers are created equal. The reason you shouldn’t simply go buy 100 followers is because they likely won’t be engaged or get involved in your community, and they might not even be real. Earning 10 engaged followers yourself is a far more valuable use of your time.

You build an online community the same way you build a flesh and blood community, one heart, one handshake and one good deed at a time. Not only acknowledge what people do for you, but do them similar good deeds.

But it’s not enough just to grow a community, you must maintain them and keep them engaged.



Stage 3: Leveraging Your Social Media Community
Ultimately we’re all in business to make a profit, and we must leverage (not a bad word) the community to achieve our goals, but Evan reminds us,

…never ignore the principles on which you built this community. You don’t want to throw everything you’ve built out the window for a quick sale.

Collect feedback: You want people’s honest opinions This can only help us grow. Whether it’s my wife’s honest opinion about my haircut and shirt choice or a customer’s distaste for our slogan. We need to know whether we look like a doofus or not.

Crowdsourced Content: Answers to polls, photo contests and other user-generated content is one of the greatest benefits to your social media community.

Amplify your content: Let your crowd tell the good news. Ask them for help and tell them what you need them to do. This is what a true community does, a good one anyway.

If you’d like to leave a comment and find the form tedious you can comment on my twitter feed @mikeyznsacto or Facebook M. Matheson

Have you seen Owly? Hoot! Hoot!

When I was just starting out to build a platform for marketing my books and stories, I worked the social media angle mostly from my iPhone. My PC at the time was a boat anchor running Vista. I’ve since turned to MAC for deliverance. Where has Mac been all my life? It was like finding the fountain of youth.

My wife grew ever more exasperated as I ran into her office each day; holding my iPhone aloft and dancing with the exciting news that ten people had followed me on Twitter that day. Up until I started working at it in July of last year, my follower count was near rock steady at a static 200 — give or take 1-3.
Since then, my excitement has grown less naive. I have over 5400 followers and the average day sees 30-40 new ones with spikes close to a hundred on occasion. Twitter is my main marketing platform.

I also use Facebook and Google+, yet I haven’t paid as much attention to those as Twitter since the little blue bird is where my best interaction, growth and success have been.

As my account grew via iPhone, I soon realized that a good SMMS (Social Media Management System) would be necessary to monitor, grow and maintain the growing interactions. Without Hootsuite as my choice, this could not have been accomplished short of going insane. I’m now a rabid fan and brand ambassador for this top-rated platform.
Just so you understand clearly, I am a volunteer and am not paid for any of my endorsements or promotional activities. Hootsuite has been such a game-changer in my efforts to build a marketing platform on social media. So much so that I want to wash the CEO’s car or at least mow his lawn.
I didn’t just fall into… with the first pretty bird to come along either. I did my homework. I tried the others and evaluated them for ease and performance. Hootsuite won hands down. There were super simple programs that sacrificed too much performance. That would not work for me. I test drove Owly(HootSuite’s monicker). Within the month, I upgraded to the Pro Version and never looked back.

If you are on Twitter at all, you have no doubt been bombarded with ads for adding followers, 10,000 guaranteed in one day for $29.95. Sounds like an old commercial from the 70’s for painting cars. I tried it and the paint peeled within the year. That same thing will happen to your new bytes of friends. Do you really want to pay for your friends? Can we be so desperate for recognition that we pay some computer savvy person money to tweak the system so it looks like 10,000 people were interested in what we had to say? What kind of gravitas will be gained by that number under our profile pic? The proliferation of such offers suggests a lot of people drink that Kool-Aid.

Well?

If 10,000 REAL people, in one fell swoop and all in one day, were interested in me and my books, the media would be parked in front of my house clamoring for an interview like flies on a sugar stain. Quite a temptation for a writer…

And, there are others offering to automatically manage my content for me. Just think of the free time that would suddenly be available to me. Succumb to that one and you’d end up with hearts and flower romance novels in horror story posts or vice-versa (I’ve seen it). How about a little porn stirred in with your Christian brand? That would do wonders for your image.
The profiles using automated content providers are easy to spot; they have no original content. All their posts are Retweets and rarely any original content from the account holder. Occasionally a post says someone else is doing the heavy lifting — just for legalities sake.

Me, I like to get to know people whether online or in person. I like to shake their hand even if it is across the data stream. I like to recognize and celebrate them for their achievements and help them achieve their goals. Yes, Mom all that happens on a well run Twitter profile. Read my post on the simpler basics of Twitter I learned from watching others and by applying Common Courtesies and a Handshake to Social Media.

Meanwhile back at the ranch —
I really need to give credit where credit is due. Without HootSuite‘s SMMS (Social Media Management System) I could not have accomplished what I have so far. Hootsuite allows you, through an online dashboard, to manage multiple Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn or Word Press accounts, and you can manage multiple accounts within each one of those. I’m out of breath just thinking about it.
In addition, there is a plethora of third-party apps  to work with available through the dashboard: Instagram, YouTube, and even Gmail. Being web based you can do all this from anywhere in the world on any computer. There is a free version of HootSuite‘ or a Pro version for $9.95 a month which has proved its worth ten and a hundred fold, perhaps more, each and every month.

Within my dashboard, I manage 9 different Social Media accounts, some of those I curate for companies who were impressed with my proficiency, knowledge and the results I got back from my own accounts. I can also manage each of those on a limited basis from my iPhone and iPad. Using a laptop or desktop computer, of course, enables you to extract all of the features and best benefits.

Since my mainstream is Twitter, I’ll tell you my experience from that standpoint. The single most beneficial thing is the bulk scheduler from which I can upload up to 350 messages at one time to each profile. For me, that’s about two week’s worth of content. This takes a little head scratching and finger grease, but if you have a bare minimum of experience with Excel you can do it. I learned through a reccomendation from HootSuite’s help pages that the best program to use is Google Sheets their online answer to Excel. Sheets is not as powerful as Excel, but having it web based alongside the HootSuite Dashboard is more convenient than bouncing from software locked to one computer in which you have to save filenames and perform other juggling acts. Sheets also makes cleaner CSV files for uploading.

HootSuite even gives you templates ready for you to enter your info. The date and time go in the leftmost cell, the contents of your post in the next and technically a link goes in the third column. The digits you see in the fifth column is my own invention: I have a formula there that counts the characters in the content column. Since Twitter is limited to 140 characters, it removes a lot of guesswork. Then save a CSV file of the sheet and upload through Dashboard/publisher/bulk message upload. If there are any errors the program will tell you what and where they are located. A note on the third column link: I shorten links beforehand in Hootsuite’s composition box and insert in the second cell. It works better for me and keeping count of characters.
This is my dashboard, like command central. From here I monitor Retweets, New Followers, Mentions and even see what my latest tweets were since I scheduled them up to 2 weeks ago and can’t remember what they were without looking. Now I can respond rapidly and appropriately to those interacting with my account. By the way, that is only one tab visible. If you scan across the top you’ll see 9 more tabs and the last one holds multiple streams also.
One more beautiful thing is search streams. I can check on the competition or other sites putting up great content that I can use. I can even find everyone within a specified radius of anywhere talking about coffee or church or whatever you might need — to find people locally that are interested in what you like.
I do have a few more tricks up my sleeve.
Always on the hunt for a faster and better way, Google Sheets have been a godsend. Look at the tabs on the bottom. I used to keep different sheets for every upload, now I keep the same one, change the dates and time and change the informative tweets. Promotional tweets I keep in the same time slot, tweaking. adding and subtracting them as needed. Retweets, quotes, and funny dog pics are exchanged for new ones and these I keep in other tabs. There are tabs that hold all my blog tweets and tabs that hold all my books and another one for the stories I giveaway and on and on it goes.
Last but not least and probably the best feature of HootSuite is its people. Customer service is near instantaneous, only a Tweet away through @HootSuite_Help. If they don’t have an instant solution they sic a team of people on it till it is done.
Recently, I have  become a HootSuite Ambassador, one small part of 1,000 others who volunteer to support the brand because they believe so strongly in it. 
HootSuite has improved my life.

If you’d like to leave a comment and find the form tedious you can also comment on my twitter feed @mikeyznsacto or Facebook M. Matheson

Sir…TweetaLot

Yeah! If you thought the title was corny, so did I…but it’s all I got. This is a follow-up to a blog post titled, Tweet Tweet which had a much nicer ring. If you skip over and check it out you’ll find it was about my experience gaining Twitter followers. I reread it and the small numbers seem near ridiculous now.

But, the principles are solid only the scale grew larger and I had to figure a way to cut down the time it took to keep up good relationships with an ever increasing crowd. After all, good relationships is what it is about.

In that previous post, I was all worked up and dancing on tabletops about gaining a hundred followers in ten days, good stuff. Since then I’ve seen steady gains of up to 50 a day. Like I said, same method. I’m now hovering around at 1800 followers (9,020 on 10/31/15 which proves my points) and most of these are good home-grown followers (real people). The reason I’m hovering: Twitter has a rule that if you follow 2000 people they won’t let you follow any more till you get a lot more followers and that number seems mysterious and arbitrary. Without being able to follow everyone who follows you, growth is much slower. Update on 11/1/2015 I’ve discovered that once you clear that glass ceiling and can prove that you don’t put out junk and real people want to engage with you, that mystery ratio goes away and you can follow as many as you want without regards to how many follow you.

Still, I thought I’d share a couple things I learned to make the work less time-consuming. I’m aware that I could pay a monthly fee for a company to do all my posting, but somehow that felt disingenuous, and I couldn’t bring myself to do it. For a while, I let JustUnFollow send auto DM messages thanking new followers but after getting a bunch from other people, I couldn’t stomach it any longer.

My biggest help so far is the Hootsuite SMMS short for Social Media Managing System; which allows me to schedule up to 350 Tweets or Facebook posts at one time to one account. If I put all the info for my message in a correctly formatted Excel spreadsheet (it’s simple. They even give you a template) voila I have the next few weeks Tweets all set to go.

I set my posts at half past the hour so if I want to post anything else, I insert it at the hour or fifteen or forty-five after so it won’t get crowded.

I value all my followers old and new and I schedule some of their book links in my bulk uploads so they come up regularly as retweets. As for my new followers: after the initial nice thank you Tweet and a courteous retweet of one or two of their messages, I wait a few days or a week and gang up all the new followers in a message thanking them again. They get a mention and I usually get a retweet with more exposure.

Ganging up ‘Thank You for Following’ Tweets gets time-consuming when the follows are coming in hot and heavy 100-220 in a three to four-day span.

Thank you Mighty Google! I went searching for a program that might help me… I didn’t find one that would do it all for me without relinquishing my sovereignty, but I did find an excel spreadsheet that you register as an app with Twitter and it feeds you all your followers in a neat little list, newest at top. Martin Hawksey, God bless him, has made it fairly easy for the average Joe to accomplish this. Now, I run this spreadsheet every few days and give all my new followers a mention.

All I had to do was paste that list into a notepad and put little @ symbols in front of each screen name. Way better than before but tedious. So, I DM’d a follower @tianyuxu who is an Excel Guru Data Cruncher and asked if he would help me with the formula to add the @ symbol before each name. He was only too happy to help. Wango Tango it’s now as easy as 1-2-3 to put together the bulk thank you tweets.
I could go on, but it’s getting late. If anyone has something to add or comment please do. I’m no expert, but I am good at learning.
Peace All,
Mike
If you’d like to leave a comment and find the form tedious you can comment on my twitter feed @mikeyznsacto or Facebook/M. Matheson